WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Agencies
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief 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 then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized 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 rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional 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 very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Agencies
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 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 likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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. Wpengine Agencies
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly 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 budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Agencies
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress set up. WP Engine not just gets strong TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s nice 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 consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Agencies
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Agencies
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis 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 business has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Agencies
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Agencies
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. 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 an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Agencies
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site 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 likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Agencies
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however likewise on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered radically because 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 advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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 best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Agencies
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient 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 traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Agencies
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video numerous 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 custom backend isn’t going to be a big offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Agencies
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking 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 & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Agencies
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If handled 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 set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve 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 test to simplify things. Wpengine Agencies