WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Limitations
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Limitations
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher 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 various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Limitations
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular 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 Limitations
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Limitations
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Limitations
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Limitations
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big 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 stated, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Limitations
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations 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 actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & an usually costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Limitations
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Limitations
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Limitations
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Limitations
All that stated, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Limitations
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to assist fix 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 for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Limitations
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Limitations
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid 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 savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Limitations