WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but 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. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to carry 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 simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has 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 hard aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually understood the great operations 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 client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing 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 although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, 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 website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a typically costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting 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 check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might 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 monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need 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 automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling 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 great suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to help 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables 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 upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Many shared hosting servers can handle the 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) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled 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 install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018