WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Twitter
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
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 customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Twitter
I have actually used WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client 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. Wpengine Twitter
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wpengine Twitter
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting 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 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 determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from package, 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 consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Twitter
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Twitter
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good 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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually 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 hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, 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, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Twitter
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But 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 entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Twitter
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned 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 instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Twitter
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Twitter
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Twitter
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Twitter
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have 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. Wpengine Twitter
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of 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 wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Twitter
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not 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 requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however 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 use a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Twitter