WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Amazon S3
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Amazon S3
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, 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’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Amazon S3
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Amazon S3
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Amazon S3
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 considering that you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Amazon S3
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Amazon S3
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big 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 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 thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but 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 discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far 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 available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has connected with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Amazon S3
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial 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 a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Amazon S3
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates 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 developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. 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 might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Amazon S3
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan 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 website all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Amazon S3
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however likewise on producing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & projects with developers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Amazon S3
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks 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 made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns 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 incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Amazon S3
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Amazon S3
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, 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 generally spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Amazon S3
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental 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 trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. Their rates 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 designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed 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 exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Amazon S3