WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Cloudflare
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Cloudflare
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will 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. Wpengine Cloudflare
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their discount 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 Cloudflare
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Cloudflare
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized 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 clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Cloudflare
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Cloudflare
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental 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 three require an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far 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 all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the great workings 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 between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Cloudflare
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & 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 huge pro in my book. Wpengine Cloudflare
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
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 out 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 check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee 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 could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Cloudflare
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer 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 likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third 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 finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Cloudflare
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, 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 many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Cloudflare
All that said, here are some of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Wpengine Cloudflare
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video multiple 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Cloudflare
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 have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior 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 common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Cloudflare
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application 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 sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features 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 do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans 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 sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wpengine Cloudflare