WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then 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. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. 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. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
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 options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because 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 offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually 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 aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to know 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 indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually 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 whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee 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 might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed drastically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate finest practices into application & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to assist troubleshoot 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of sees.
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 have to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, 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 usually spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously 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 limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about 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, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name