WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 WordPress Plugin
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of 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 quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site 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 because you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand 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 discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required 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 nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top 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 totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate 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 each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly 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 developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix 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 finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions but also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate finest practices into application & projects with designers.
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 fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to help fix all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site 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 website requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed 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 definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is best for you based on your goals, spending 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 product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine WordPress Plugin