WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Large Fs
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Large Fs
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Large Fs
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Wp Engine Large Fs
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes 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 aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Large Fs
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Large Fs
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Large Fs
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis 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 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 client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Large Fs
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value 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 distributors.
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 neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & an usually costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Large Fs
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost 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 monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually 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. Wp Engine Large Fs
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise 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 occur. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating 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, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Large Fs
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they just 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 clients. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Large Fs
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Large Fs
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had 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 are 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 a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists 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 just 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 managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Large Fs
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Large Fs
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
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 what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Large Fs