WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Cache Plugin
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great 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 options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective 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. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals 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 does not indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way 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 better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they also provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Cache Plugin
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but 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 review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & tasks 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 fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I do not use them for this site since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Cache Plugin
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable 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 “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application 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 have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use 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 looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Cache Plugin