WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Help
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Help
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply 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 really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Help
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client 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 business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful 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 Help
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types 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 mean that you require a larger, better server. It does imply 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 particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Help
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex 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 might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Help
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Help
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good 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 company 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 tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Help
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem 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 suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading 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 actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a typically costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Help
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates 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 own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly 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 monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs 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 better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Help
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows 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, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Help
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many 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 a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Help
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Help
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Help
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Help
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 plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with 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 “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t 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 limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about 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 warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Help