WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Address
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This evaluation 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. Wp Engine Address
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Address
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Address
They do not even permit 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 because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Address
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Address
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus 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 business has actually grown & changed 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 aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know 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 mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Address
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However 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 entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately 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 & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Address
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost 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 personal or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Address
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type 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 focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Address
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Address
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Address
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video several 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist troubleshoot 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 why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Address
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will manage 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 big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Address
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Address