WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater 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 alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but 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 receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning 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 Tutorial Pdf
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized 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 style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus 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 & 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 tough aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with in fact understood the great workings 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 only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly 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 Tutorial Pdf
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, 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 site secure 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 & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically expensive scenario (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 Tutorial Pdf
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous 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 likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not 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 issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed significantly because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & 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 everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Tutorial Pdf