WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Cnet Web Host Reviews
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Cnet Web Host Reviews
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 methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + 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 conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Cnet Web Host Reviews
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Cnet Web Host Reviews
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not suggest that you need a bigger, 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 effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Cnet Web Host Reviews
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Cnet Web Host Reviews
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Cnet Web Host Reviews
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 company has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Cnet Web Host Reviews
I make certain 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 disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem 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 very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure 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 occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Cnet Web Host Reviews
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices 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 value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation 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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Cnet Web Host Reviews
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit 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 appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs 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 customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous 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 promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements 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 truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Cnet Web Host Reviews
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have altered radically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & 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 very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Cnet Web Host Reviews
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Cnet Web Host Reviews
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video numerous 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to assist fix all sorts of problems.
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 simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Cnet Web Host Reviews
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of 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.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended 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 prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Cnet Web Host Reviews
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution 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 price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable 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 set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Cnet Web Host Reviews