WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Custom Domain
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Custom Domain
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions 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. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Custom Domain
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Custom Domain
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Custom Domain
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers 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 determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Custom Domain
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Custom Domain
Client 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 sense for them to position a big emphasis 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 grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they spoke to 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 treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually 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 client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Custom Domain
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee 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 sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Custom Domain
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Custom Domain
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Custom Domain
WP Engine excels not only on current functions however likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they merely 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 clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Custom Domain
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Custom Domain
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video several 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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 just take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Custom Domain
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However 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 allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Custom Domain
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to fret about hosting problems.
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 warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Custom Domain