WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine General Counsel
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine General Counsel
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But 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 features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but 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 price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine General Counsel
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on 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 guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 General Counsel
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine General Counsel
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the 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, 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 start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note 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 control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine General Counsel
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine General Counsel
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus 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 company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they spoke 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 company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has been able 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine General Counsel
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However 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 entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine General Counsel
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) 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 little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed 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 focus on their core markets. Wp Engine General Counsel
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine General Counsel
WP Engine excels not only on current functions however also on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered radically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine General Counsel
All that said, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine General Counsel
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine General Counsel
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical 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. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full functionality.
The very 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.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine General Counsel
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include a lot 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 local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices 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 unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine General Counsel