WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Using Google Drive
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & 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 live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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 Using Google Drive
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain 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 much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Using Google Drive
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 ever since. 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 customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important 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 an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire 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 an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately 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 & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also 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 helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just 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 cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing 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 site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development 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 for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades 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 guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & projects 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 everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image downsides 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. And that difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see 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 going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business 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 set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The 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 utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do a painful 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 on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Using Google Drive
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly 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 limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans 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 existing host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Using Google Drive