WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Zuver
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply 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 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 + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Zuver
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective 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 Zuver
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Zuver
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of 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 quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Zuver
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Zuver
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big focus 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 business has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Zuver
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show 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 Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively uncomplicated:
- 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 discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep 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 tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Zuver
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
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 monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Zuver
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer 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 discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Zuver
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however also on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. 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 since they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Zuver
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Zuver
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 most of the times, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Zuver
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on 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 need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Zuver
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact 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 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Zuver