WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Theme
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Theme
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed 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 customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however 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 options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Theme
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular 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 Theme
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often 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 carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Theme
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 may get with other services given that you are complimentary 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 just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Theme
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Theme
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Theme
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Theme
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Theme
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems 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 process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed 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 developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits 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 guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, 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, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Theme
WP Engine excels not only on present features however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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 suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling 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 great suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Theme
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Theme
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video 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 backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website 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 that 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 do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Theme
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, 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 efficiency & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Theme
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating 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 trustworthy VPS, you can definitely 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 “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong product. 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 unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, 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 Theme