WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Growth Plan
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Growth Plan
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And 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 install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Growth Plan
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Growth Plan
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer 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 as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Growth Plan
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many 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 information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Growth Plan
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Growth Plan
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since 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 very 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of client support is that a lot 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 discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Growth Plan
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively straightforward:
- 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 observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty 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 actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Growth Plan
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback 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 rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup 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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Growth Plan
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Growth Plan
WP Engine excels not only on existing features however also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). 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 good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Growth Plan
All that said, here are a few of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Growth Plan
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Growth Plan
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Growth Plan
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have 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. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Growth Plan