WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Environment Variables
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Environment Variables
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Environment Variables
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I don’t 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 benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Wp Engine Environment Variables
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Environment Variables
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin 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 website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Environment Variables
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Environment Variables
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Environment Variables
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever 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 great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally pricey 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 Environment Variables
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy 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 plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical issues, 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 rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Environment Variables
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established 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 aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior 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 guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly 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 Environment Variables
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions however likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Environment Variables
All that stated, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous 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 annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Environment Variables
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Environment Variables
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job 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 pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Environment Variables
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very 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 basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Environment Variables