WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Unlimited Email
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This evaluation will 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 Email
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes 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 on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular 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 Unlimited Email
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way 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 back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
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 Email
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge focus 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 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 stated, the difficult thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed 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 inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup 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, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the 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 per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little 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 site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled 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 focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so 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 is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
WP Engine excels not just on current features however likewise on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand since they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use 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 install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, 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 up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish 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 allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Unlimited Email
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very 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 basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
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 assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Unlimited Email