WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Environments
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Environments
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -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 ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, 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 website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before 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 but I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Environments
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning 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 Environments
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have 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 assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Environments
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
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 nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website 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 might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Environments
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Environments
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge 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 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 tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, 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 quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep 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 looking after a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Environments
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). 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 absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Environments
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee 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 designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Environments
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. 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 plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client 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 learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, 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), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Environments
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however also on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid since 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 good suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Environments
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Environments
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous 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 Environments
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise 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 rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety 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 site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, 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 generally paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Environments
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email 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 importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize 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 & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly 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 space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit 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 chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Environments