WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying 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 site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo 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 Pantheon
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since 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, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus 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 just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
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 Pantheon
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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 takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews 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, laborious & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage 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 remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost 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 individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Vs Pantheon
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers 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 procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to integrate 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video numerous 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 really going to be a big offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help troubleshoot 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 that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor extra hosting 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution 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 sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon