WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Agencies
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just 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 actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses 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 site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This review will 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 Agencies
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Agencies
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling 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 combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Wpengine Agencies
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Agencies
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Agencies
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked 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 treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has 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 customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Agencies
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Agencies
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the 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 of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Agencies
Like I stated at the start, 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 lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly 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 upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan 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 at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Agencies
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered radically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Agencies
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Agencies
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Agencies
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated 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 flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Agencies
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled 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 install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Agencies