WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Http/2
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed 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 uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Http/2
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective 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 Http/2
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Http/2
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional 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 quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Http/2
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Http/2
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the great workings 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 during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Http/2
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But 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 set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Http/2
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply 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 enable more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices 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 own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to 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 don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Http/2
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Http/2
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks 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 best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Http/2
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Http/2
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (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 ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help fix 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need 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 recognize. Wp Engine Http/2
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad 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 rates is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 Company. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for 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.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Http/2
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously 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 limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their rates 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 unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Http/2