WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various 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 “best fit” for. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client 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 companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 Unlimited Bandwidth
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating 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 one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, 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 information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear 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 means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected 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 whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
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 kinds of customers, 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 designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
WP Engine excels not only on current functions however likewise on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand since they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed 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 going to be a huge offer (when you get past the learning curve). But for the majority 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 really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to assist 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine 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 rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
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 use case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of many 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 limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly 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 functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, 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 Unlimited Bandwidth