WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Speed Check Up
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Speed Check Up
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually 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 offer 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 purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + 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 take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Speed Check Up
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Website Speed Check Up
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Website Speed Check Up
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note 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 because you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Speed Check Up
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Speed Check Up
Consumer 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 an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Speed Check Up
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Website Speed Check Up
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. 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, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Speed Check Up
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the spending 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 site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, 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), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Website Speed Check Up
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into application & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Speed Check Up
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Website Speed Check Up
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But 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 truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Speed Check Up
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Speed Check Up
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical execution 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 sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking 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 costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Website Speed Check Up