WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Development
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Website Development
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review 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 “finest fit” for. Speed Up Website Development
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main 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 advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Speed Up Website Development
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up Website Development
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Development
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up Website Development
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 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 hard thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Development
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually 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 deal with a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews 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), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically expensive scenario (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. Speed Up Website Development
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Website Development
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website 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 handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Website Development
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. 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 since I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Development
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website Development
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very 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 myriad of site lists to help 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 in most cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Website Development
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much 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 whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website Development
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 standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour 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 fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & 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 have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Speed Up Website Development