WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Page Performance
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Page Performance
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many 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 become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really 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 tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Page Performance
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & 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 live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Page Performance
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, 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 sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may 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 help to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Page Performance
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method 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 even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Page Performance
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Page Performance
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Page Performance
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently 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 & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Page Performance
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup 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 monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might 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 concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Page Performance
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key aspect, especially 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 desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Page Performance
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed radically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Page Performance
All that said, here are some of the larger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– particularly 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. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom 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 ever explain best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Page Performance
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Page Performance
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, 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 permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Page Performance
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, 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 streamline things. Wp Engine Page Performance