WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Reviews 2016
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, 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’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective 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 Reviews 2016
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up 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 quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 since you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Reviews 2016
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. 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 focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 actually 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 stated, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke to 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 treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting 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 offered everywhere on the website 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 in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover 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 don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing 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 frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed radically because I began observing the industry *. 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 implementation & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid because they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
All that said, here are some of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limitations), but 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 dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting costs 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more 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 wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Reviews 2016
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) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have 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 talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Reviews 2016