WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Jason Cohen
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 managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized 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 choices, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This review 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 Jason Cohen
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Jason Cohen
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain 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 considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Jason Cohen
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since 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 an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really knew the great operations 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 in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially 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 occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance 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 clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, 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.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
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, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed radically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate best practices into application & jobs 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 problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks 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. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video multiple 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 big deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have 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 Jason Cohen
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with 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 have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled 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 method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor 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 enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really 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 normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Jason Cohen
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Jason Cohen