WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Leadership
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
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 standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This evaluation will take a 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 Leadership
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however 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 receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, 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 discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Leadership
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Leadership
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized 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 theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Leadership
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Leadership
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed 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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact knew the great workings 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 between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Leadership
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally 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 own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually costly circumstance (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 Leadership
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just 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 rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens 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 important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize 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 costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Leadership
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating 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 have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate 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 automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Leadership
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but also on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & jobs 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this site since I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Leadership
All that stated, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Leadership
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Leadership
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Leadership
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, 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 Leadership