WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Optimization
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Optimization
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has 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 vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Optimization
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Optimization
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not suggest that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Optimization
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers 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 measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Optimization
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Optimization
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed 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 hard feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Optimization
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Optimization
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t 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.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Optimization
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Optimization
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & 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
Just 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 hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Optimization
All that said, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Optimization
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Optimization
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more 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 regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted 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 rates is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any 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 performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Optimization
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Optimization