WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Domain
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Domain
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon 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 “best fit” for. Wp Engine Domain
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Domain
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Domain
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized 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 one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they also provide international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Domain
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Domain
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Domain
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I 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 responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Domain
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Domain
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 suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of 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 growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Domain
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Domain
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– 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. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Domain
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help repair 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Domain
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with 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 have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, 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 flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service 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 generally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, 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 think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Domain
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard 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 trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans 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 chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Domain