WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Sftp Wpengine
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief 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 then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however 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 cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Sftp Wpengine
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful 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. Sftp Wpengine
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, 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 certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge 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 remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Sftp Wpengine
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra 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 measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they also supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Sftp Wpengine
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Sftp Wpengine
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know 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 evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact understood the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Sftp Wpengine
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly 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 utilize 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 simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically 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. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. 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 sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Sftp Wpengine
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup 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 entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled 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 concentrate on their core markets. Sftp Wpengine
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Sftp Wpengine
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually changed radically given that I began observing the market *. 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 & jobs 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 suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not use them for this site since I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Sftp Wpengine
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Sftp Wpengine
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist fix all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Sftp Wpengine
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique 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; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional 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 ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting expenses 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Sftp Wpengine
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & 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 sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Sftp Wpengine