WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In any 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 reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically 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 Vs Pantheon
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well 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 style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they also provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really knew the fine 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 shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since 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 worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 notice that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure 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 & prepared 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 issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. 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 site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated 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, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine stands out not only on present features but likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects 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 everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that 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 suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
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 features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to 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 predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr 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 check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans 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 talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Vs Pantheon