WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engineering
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engineering
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engineering
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful 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 Engineering
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh 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 … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engineering
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engineering
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engineering
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never 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 point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available 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 customer has communicated with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn 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 Engineering
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, 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 site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns 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 likewise 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 main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a normally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engineering
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits 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 do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, 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 a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engineering
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages 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 site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engineering
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but likewise on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & projects 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 fit for everyone. There are lots 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 just aren’t a fit for everybody. 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 site due to the fact that I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engineering
All that stated, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized 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 general user. Wp Engineering
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to help repair all sorts of issues.
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 most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
But, 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 need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engineering
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes 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 use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any 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 paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engineering
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic 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 reputable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email 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 few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engineering