WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Website In China
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 specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up Website In China
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. How To Speed Up Website In China
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present 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 companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. How To Speed Up Website In China
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. How To Speed Up Website In China
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly 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 huge or complicated the website 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 considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Website In China
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 Website In China
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke 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 business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Website In China
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 discover that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Website In China
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage 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 & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal 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 prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. How To Speed Up Website In China
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the 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. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. How To Speed Up Website In China
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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 very best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Website In China
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. How To Speed Up Website In China
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 sites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How To Speed Up Website In China
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. How To Speed Up Website In China
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. How To Speed Up Website In China