WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Minify
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Minify
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Minify
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client 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 “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Minify
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of 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 economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wpengine Minify
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Minify
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Minify
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus 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 business 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 hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative 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 looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Minify
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, 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 required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However 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 launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Minify
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Minify
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, 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 functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Minify
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have actually altered significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate best practices into application & tasks with developers.
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 very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand since they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I do not use them for this site because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Minify
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing 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 distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Minify
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora 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 in most cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Minify
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions 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 sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Minify
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very 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 basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of much of the functions you do not 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 extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly 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 & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer 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 wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit 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 what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Minify