WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engineers
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engineers
I have actually used WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Engineers
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engineers
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized 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 extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly 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 offer international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engineers
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engineers
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because 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 put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 difficult thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with in fact understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engineers
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 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 straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & an usually costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engineers
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback 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 & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost 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 entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engineers
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic 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 site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. 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 customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engineers
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & projects with designers.
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 best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engineers
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
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 do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engineers
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help fix all sorts of concerns.
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 simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engineers
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & 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 need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engineers
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application 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 websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engineers