WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Hosting Review
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Hosting Review
While they have lots 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 website builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Hosting Review
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on 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 promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Review
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Hosting Review
They do not 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 because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note 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 sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also provide international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Hosting Review
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 Review
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 said, the tough thing about consumer support is that so much 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 evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Hosting Review
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Hosting Review
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty 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 charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge 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 might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Hosting Review
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Hosting Review
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered significantly considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & 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 very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Hosting Review
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Hosting Review
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video numerous 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Hosting Review
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
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 need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, 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 allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, 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 a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Hosting Review
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Hosting Review