WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website 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 short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And 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. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client 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 Vs Liquid Web
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling 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 consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge 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 & 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 stated, the difficult feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, 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, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally 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 free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally costly situation (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 Vs Liquid Web
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates 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 worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears 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 very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer 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 finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have altered significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into application & tasks with designers.
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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help 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 most of the times, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration 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 sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, 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 looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as 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 features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Vs Liquid Web