WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
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 Using Raspberry Pi
While they have plenty of competition 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 cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote 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 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 truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different method. 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 Using Raspberry Pi
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion 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 Raspberry Pi
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of 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 packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 considering that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
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 Raspberry Pi
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern 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 fairly straightforward:
- 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically 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. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. 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 process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market 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 evaluation modification. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
WP Engine stands out not just on current features but also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed drastically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not 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 Using Raspberry Pi
All that said, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with 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 foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting expenses 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 a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle 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 into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted 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 use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Using Raspberry Pi