WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Xo
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 handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Xo
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely 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 purchasing 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 price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
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 compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. 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 Xo
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Xo
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Xo
They do not even allow 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 sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of 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 loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way 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 even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Xo
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Xo
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 & 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 stated, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial 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 competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Xo
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show 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 Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading 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 actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & an usually expensive scenario (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 Xo
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, 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 location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away 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 an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Xo
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting 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 handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer 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 & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous 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, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Xo
WP Engine excels not only on present features however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development 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 development to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Xo
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Xo
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy 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 really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist repair 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Xo
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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 have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, 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 enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Xo
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution 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 need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies 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 managed hosting is a fit 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 set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Xo