WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Zoom
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Zoom
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Zoom
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “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 Zoom
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Zoom
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers 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 begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated 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 might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Zoom
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Zoom
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Zoom
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But 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 means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also 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 websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually expensive scenario (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 Zoom
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. 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 could 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 entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Zoom
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable 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 very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer 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 & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Zoom
WP Engine excels not only on current features however also on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have altered significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has 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 very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid 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 consumers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Zoom
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Zoom
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to help fix 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Zoom
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Zoom
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly 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 cost. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
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 assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Zoom