WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
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. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely 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. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however 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 “best fit” for. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put 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 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 hard aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone 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 evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really understood the fine operations 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 customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- 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 observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully 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 look after it for free.
I personally have never 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 expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
WP Engine excels not just on present features however likewise on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate best 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn 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 huge selection of website checklists to help fix 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting costs 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual 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 spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental 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 reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Crazyegg Speed-Up-Your-Website