WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Optimize Images
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Optimize Images
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Optimize Images
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Optimize Images
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Optimize Images
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Optimize Images
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Optimize Images
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know 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 review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Optimize Images
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However 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 community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Optimize Images
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 each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices 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 developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Optimize Images
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Optimize Images
WP Engine excels not just on present functions however likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs 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 lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Optimize Images
All that said, here are a few of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Optimize Images
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help fix 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 that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Optimize Images
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting expenses 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Optimize Images
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you do not 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 needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid 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 unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out 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 confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wpengine Optimize Images