WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site 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 variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
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 set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on 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’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion 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. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of 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 start filling 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 site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually 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 whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically 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 big pro in my book. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) 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 income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. 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 assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise 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 occur. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs 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 type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous 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 advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but also on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has 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 a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo downsides 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 made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods 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 consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very 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 dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for 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 use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to 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 quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application 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 sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install 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 option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, 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 streamline things. How To Optimize A WordPress Site For Seo