WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Ssl
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This review 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 “best fit” for. Wpengine Ssl
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Ssl
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate 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 site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just 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 needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wpengine Ssl
They do not even allow 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 since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional 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 quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not only gets solid TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 may get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Ssl
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Ssl
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 stated, the difficult aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they spoke with 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 a cost.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Ssl
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Ssl
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost 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 problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial 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 Ssl
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. 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 a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Ssl
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed radically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Ssl
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Ssl
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to assist fix all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Ssl
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted 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 allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Ssl
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however what is best 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 fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Ssl