WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Zimbra
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Zimbra
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different 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 Zimbra
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects because 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Zimbra
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not imply that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Zimbra
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Zimbra
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Zimbra
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want 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, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however 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 just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn 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 Zimbra
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after 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 been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Zimbra
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting 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 visits (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each 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 gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular 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 website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Zimbra
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds 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 customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous routines or customs 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 type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Zimbra
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered drastically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Zimbra
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Zimbra
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to enjoy 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help repair 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 that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Zimbra
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Zimbra
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic 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 dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Zimbra