WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Backups
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Backups
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Backups
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Backups
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply 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 quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Backups
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Backups
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Backups
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big emphasis 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 difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Backups
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. 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 basics are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Backups
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Backups
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Backups
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed drastically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into execution & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Backups
All that stated, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can cause some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Backups
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy 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-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very 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 huge selection of website lists 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Backups
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey 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 factor 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Backups
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in 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 provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Backups