WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Staging
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different 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 Staging
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Staging
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Staging
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional 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 data to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Staging
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Staging
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 said, the tough feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Staging
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected 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 & ready to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Staging
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly 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 might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, 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 an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Staging
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears 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 first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental 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 handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Staging
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions but likewise on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed significantly given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Staging
All that said, here are some of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Staging
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but 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 custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist repair 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter 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 Staging
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot 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 good factors, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle 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 simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider 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 generally spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Staging
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable 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 set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Staging