WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Benefits
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site 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 short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great 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 alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Benefits
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Benefits
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean 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 specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Benefits
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they also provide global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Benefits
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Benefits
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put 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 actually grown & changed 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 hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with really understood the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Benefits
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But 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 large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Benefits
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup 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 whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could 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 point out any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Benefits
Like I said at the start, 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 clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend 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 sites. 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 clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Benefits
WP Engine excels not just on current features however likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered radically since 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 development to integrate finest practices into application & 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 suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Benefits
All that stated, here are some of the bigger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Benefits
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several 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 custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help fix all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Benefits
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
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 need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good 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 rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Benefits
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Benefits