WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Unlimited
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Unlimited
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Unlimited
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective 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 Unlimited
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not imply that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming 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 might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Unlimited
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Unlimited
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
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand 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 review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Unlimited
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Unlimited
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning 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 check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Unlimited
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer 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 spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases 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 an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Unlimited
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Unlimited
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Unlimited
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Unlimited
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Unlimited
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly handle 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 “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably 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 cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Unlimited