WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client 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 information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Issues Staging To Live
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming 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 huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs 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 puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with really understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally 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 & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 month-to-month charge 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 charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, 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 rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating 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 development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move 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 & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
WP Engine stands out not just on current features but also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & 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 best fit for everyone. 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 stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
All that said, here are some of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly 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 surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out 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 chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Issues Staging To Live