WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Rackspace
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Rackspace
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole 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 offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate 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 take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Rackspace
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo 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 Rackspace
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Rackspace
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, 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 even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Rackspace
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Rackspace
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 said, the tough feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Rackspace
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies 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 benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & an usually expensive situation (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 Rackspace
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each 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 cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far 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 an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Rackspace
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears 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 procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous routines 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 promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Rackspace
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually altered significantly given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Rackspace
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Rackspace
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video numerous 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 substantial deal (when you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to assist repair all sorts of issues.
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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Rackspace
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
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; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done 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 rates is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Rackspace
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, 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 mentioned previously that does not even consist of many 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 limits needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Rackspace