WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Webhost Scouts
While they have plenty 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 recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become 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 supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This evaluation will take a 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 Scouts
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Scouts
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly 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, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Webhost Scouts
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other 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 loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Webhost Scouts
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Webhost Scouts
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three 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 preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, 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, but he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Webhost Scouts
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). 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 Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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 occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Webhost Scouts
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, 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 website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Webhost Scouts
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds 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 type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Webhost Scouts
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions however likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs 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 very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that 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 good fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Webhost Scouts
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Webhost Scouts
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists 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 in many cases, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Webhost Scouts
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Webhost Scouts
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical implementation 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 need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly 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 test to simplify things. Webhost Scouts