WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Google
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Google
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price 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 choices, however as a whole, they all compete with 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, but it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. 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. Wpengine Google
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning 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. Wpengine Google
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wpengine Google
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way 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 much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Google
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Google
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge 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 grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they talked with 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 business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Google
I make 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 downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Google
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost 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 of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Google
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable 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 very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Google
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions however also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Google
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Google
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist repair 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 in most cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Google
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical 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 flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting costs 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Google
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their rates 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 unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, 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. Wpengine Google