WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Network
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Network
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however 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 cost 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 options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Network
I’ve used WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine Network
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Network
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website 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 given that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements 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 supply global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Network
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Network
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given 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 position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Network
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole 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 problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 two. 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. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Network
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices 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 value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month 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 might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Network
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Network
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Network
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Network
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Network
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very 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 rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a rise 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts 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 utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Network
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental 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 manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as 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 offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at 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 certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve 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 quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wpengine Network