WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor 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 complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however 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 get referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “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 Vs Pantheon
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few 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 good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note 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 might get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
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 Pantheon
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. 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 primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing 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 Vs Pantheon
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your 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 strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole 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 cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types 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 procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
All that said, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video several 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 backend isn’t going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of 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 Pantheon
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional 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 site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
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 unneeded. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration 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 “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include much 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 limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed 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 install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Vs Pantheon