WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Review
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some merely 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 actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Review
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Review
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not mean that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wpengine Review
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Review
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Review
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 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 hard thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact knew the fine functions 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 in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’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 expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Review
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible 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 entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But 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 neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Review
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very 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 enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & 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 monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Review
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. 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 client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Review
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Review
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Review
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video multiple 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website 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 just take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Review
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting expenses 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 further if your website needs lots of plugins for complete 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 actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, 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 usually paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Review
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially 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 & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable 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 install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
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 simplify things. Wpengine Review