WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Gst
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Gst
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate 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 different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Gst
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Gst
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Gst
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 start loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Gst
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Gst
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over 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 communicated with really understood 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 between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Gst
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly straightforward:
- 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 see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, 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 & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. 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 main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Gst
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is 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 really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Gst
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds 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 provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Gst
WP Engine excels not only on present features but also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Gst
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic 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 knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Gst
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
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 lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Gst
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Gst
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan 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 trustworthy VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed 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 install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Gst