WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
While they have lots 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 acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate 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 alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective 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. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style 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 install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in 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, however he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth 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 distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 two. 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 secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside 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 & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, 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 an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site 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 distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
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 features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds 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 enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this website because I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
All that said, here are a few 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 differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video multiple 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 backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to assist fix all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not 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, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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 uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon 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 typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t 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 needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Optimize Images WordPress Gtmetrix