WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Webhost Outlook
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Webhost Outlook
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Webhost Outlook
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present 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 companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “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 Outlook
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture 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 huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Webhost Outlook
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing 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 customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note 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 complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Webhost Outlook
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Webhost Outlook
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but 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 remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Webhost Outlook
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to 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 essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Webhost Outlook
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost 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 monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside 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 & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole 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 fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Webhost Outlook
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines 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 supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, 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 enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Webhost Outlook
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions however likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Webhost Outlook
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Webhost Outlook
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Webhost Outlook
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique 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; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, 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 to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Webhost Outlook
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Webhost Outlook