WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Wishlist Members
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Wishlist Members
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short 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 after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, 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 site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Wishlist Members
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion 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 Wishlist Members
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul 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 might simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common 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 Wishlist Members
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers 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 data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note 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 may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Wishlist Members
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Wishlist Members
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually 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 difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Wishlist Members
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but 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.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty 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 cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “simply 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 comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds 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 pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Wishlist Members
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into application & jobs with developers.
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 best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. 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 comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Wishlist Members
All that said, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, 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.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help repair all sorts of issues.
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 many cases, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Wishlist Members
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Wishlist Members
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical implementation 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 sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
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 guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive 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 an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wpengine Wishlist Members