WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Vs Domain
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 particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Vs Domain
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + 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 traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Vs Domain
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Vs Domain
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Vs Domain
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional 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 quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Vs Domain
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Vs Domain
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they spoke to 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 a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Vs Domain
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just 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 basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Vs Domain
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
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 simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Vs Domain
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears 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 first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Vs Domain
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Vs Domain
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Vs Domain
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video several 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 backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many 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 Vs Domain
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Vs Domain
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Vs Domain