WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Managed Hosting
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Managed Hosting
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul 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 might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Managed Hosting
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big emphasis 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 company has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with in fact understood the great workings 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 in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly 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 Managed Hosting
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty 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 essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on 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 warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees 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 don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 personal or designer time fixing concerns.
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 really their thing. Hosting services are a financial 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 Managed Hosting
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable 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 very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands 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 enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
WP Engine excels not only on current features however likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed radically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. 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 need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help fix all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise 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 rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done 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 to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Managed Hosting
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the exact 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 basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted 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 rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include much 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 limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing 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 unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. 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 current host & desire more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Managed Hosting