WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Help
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Help
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo 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 Help
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Help
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional 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):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Help
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Help
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 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 said, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Help
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required 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 a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest 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 “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot 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 likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Help
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 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 simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly 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 personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated far from technical concerns, 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 an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Help
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, 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 designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. 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 type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Help
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered drastically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that 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 good fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Help
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of using 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 quite complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Help
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to help 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of it all.
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 need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Help
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with 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 consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices 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 website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Help
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable 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 set up and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Help