WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Hosting Locations
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions 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 set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion 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 Hosting Locations
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Hosting Locations
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place 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 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 stated, the tough feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered 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 customer has actually connected with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However 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 suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very 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 plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really 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 concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. 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 consumers, 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), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed drastically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into application & tasks 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 best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist repair 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled 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 method their rates is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, 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 wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses 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 utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Hosting Locations
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially 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 website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually 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 elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Hosting Locations