WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Architecture
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Architecture
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however 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 cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Architecture
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo 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 Architecture
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Architecture
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few 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 kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Architecture
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Architecture
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge 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 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 thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but 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 evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere 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 actually interacted with in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Architecture
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is 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 community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Architecture
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually 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.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly charge 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Architecture
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Architecture
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but likewise on creating brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & tasks 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they merely 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 utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Architecture
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Architecture
Here is their video on pressing 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 several 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (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 ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Architecture
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), however 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 rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of sees.
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 bills 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 enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Architecture
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Architecture