WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Customers
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Customers
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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 Customers
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more 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 obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Customers
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well 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 puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Customers
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Customers
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know 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 point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really understood the fine operations 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 client, myself and WP Engine during 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 expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Customers
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Customers
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out 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 gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside 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 own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each 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 entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Customers
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. 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 a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third 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 learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however also on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually changed radically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into execution & projects 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 everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Customers
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Customers
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy 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 backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
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 element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally 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 really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Customers
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact 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) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at 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. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
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 test to simplify things. Wp Engine Customers