WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosts 2016
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosts 2016
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Hosts 2016
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosts 2016
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 installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even 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 quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosts 2016
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosts 2016
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big 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 business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with in fact understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosts 2016
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). 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 entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although 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 do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
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 discouraging, tiresome & an usually pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosts 2016
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots 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 thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosts 2016
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosts 2016
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate best practices into execution & jobs 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosts 2016
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
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 companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Web Hosts 2016
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video multiple 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 custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help fix 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosts 2016
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
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 need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want 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 flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive 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 lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosts 2016
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle 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 fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with 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 quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application 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 need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,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 & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosts 2016