WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Office Locations
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Office Locations
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Office Locations
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & 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 promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Office Locations
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Office Locations
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 due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Office Locations
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Office Locations
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Office Locations
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Office Locations
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & 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 upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Office Locations
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Office Locations
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Office Locations
All that said, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Office Locations
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Office Locations
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply 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 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 enable on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of 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 cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Office Locations
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
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 warranty. 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 liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wpengine Office Locations