WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Wishlist Members
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Wishlist Members
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
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 short version: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Wishlist Members
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Wishlist Members
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Wishlist Members
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well 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 bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Wishlist Members
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Wishlist Members
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
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 great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke 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 company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered 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 actually communicated with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Wishlist Members
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates 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 advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues worldwide 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 guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted 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 strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Wishlist Members
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, 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 functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Wishlist Members
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & projects with developers.
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 fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Wishlist Members
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist troubleshoot 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 for the most parts, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Wishlist Members
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, 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 generally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation 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 sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly 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 elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Wishlist Members