WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Webhost Email
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Webhost Email
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Webhost Email
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective 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. Webhost Email
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Webhost Email
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well 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 style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other 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 filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way 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 even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Webhost Email
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Webhost Email
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of client 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 talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with really understood 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 between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Webhost Email
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately 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 & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Webhost Email
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your 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 per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But 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 total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses 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 assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Webhost Email
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types 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 first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, 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 need for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Webhost Email
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & tasks with designers.
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 plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Webhost Email
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Webhost Email
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, but I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Webhost Email
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, 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 versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Webhost Email
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled 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 consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Webhost Email