WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Run WordPress Backup Locally
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Run WordPress Backup Locally
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Run WordPress Backup Locally
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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. Run WordPress Backup Locally
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t imply that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Run WordPress Backup Locally
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the website 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 complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Run WordPress Backup Locally
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Run WordPress Backup Locally
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis 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 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 stated, the difficult 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 because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Run WordPress Backup Locally
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely 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 totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Run WordPress Backup Locally
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole 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 entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Run WordPress Backup Locally
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Run WordPress Backup Locally
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Run WordPress Backup Locally
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Run WordPress Backup Locally
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized 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 best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
But, 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 lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Run WordPress Backup Locally
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real 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 use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 website requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Run WordPress Backup Locally
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. 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 notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their rates 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 savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Run WordPress Backup Locally