WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Interview
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Interview
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become 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 handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price 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 standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Interview
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Interview
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Interview
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Interview
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Interview
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of consumer 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 to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with in fact understood the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Interview
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But 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 suggests 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. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe 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 & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Interview
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Interview
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers 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 first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Interview
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have altered drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate finest 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 very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Interview
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Interview
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, 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.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Interview
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized 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 versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for 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.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Interview
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid item. Their pricing 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 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 fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Interview