WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Owner
While they have a lot of competitors 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 advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site 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, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Owner
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning 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 Owner
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Owner
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional 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 determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Owner
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Owner
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually 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 client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Owner
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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 takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally expensive scenario (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 Owner
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
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 starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far 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 rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Owner
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit 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 very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Owner
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Owner
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides 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 difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Owner
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Owner
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & 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 have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limits), 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 pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automated 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 company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Owner
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable 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 what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
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 quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Owner