WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
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 particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized 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, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
I’ve used WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Vs Digitalocean
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 given that you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with really understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually 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 client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually 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 & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost 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 per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge 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 could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Vs Digitalocean
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows 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 enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Vs Digitalocean