WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Core Values
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Core Values
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Core Values
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Core Values
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Core Values
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Core Values
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Core Values
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered 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 thing about customer 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 talked with 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 company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Core Values
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their customized 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 worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews 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 ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Core Values
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Core Values
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears 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 process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard 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’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Core Values
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually 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 best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand since 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 great fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Core Values
All that said, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Core Values
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning 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 thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Core Values
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish 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 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 permit on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Core Values
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical implementation 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 cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features 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 issues.
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 assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Core Values