WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found 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 likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since 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, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since 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 big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. 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. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally 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 dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost 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 designer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot 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 focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & 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 very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
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, however I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are 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). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018