WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Personal Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. How To Speed Up Personal Website
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote 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 after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, 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 is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. 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. How To Speed Up Personal Website
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. 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 combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. How To Speed Up Personal Website
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Personal Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support How To Speed Up Personal Website
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of 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 tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Personal Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies 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 upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty 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 actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site 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 standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds 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 offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. How To Speed Up Personal Website
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this site because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Personal Website
All that said, here are some of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists to help 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 most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How To Speed Up Personal Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further 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 local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want 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 versatile 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 allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered 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 think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the features 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 limits requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices 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 unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take 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 consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
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 simplify things. How To Speed Up Personal Website