WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion 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. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
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 complex the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they also provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. 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 place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact understood 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 between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). 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 means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However 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 very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds 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 very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
WP Engine excels not just on present functions however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs 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 best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not 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 assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Search Engine Optimization Wp Plugins