WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Largefs
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Largefs
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Largefs
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant 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 assure “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 Largefs
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Largefs
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress set up. WP Engine not only gets strong TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also supply international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Largefs
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Largefs
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Largefs
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Largefs
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Largefs
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Largefs
WP Engine excels not just on current features however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
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 very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Largefs
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already 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 explain finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Largefs
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
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 why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Largefs
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done 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 enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, 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 generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Largefs
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly 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 cost. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable 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 exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Largefs