WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Your Website WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This evaluation 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. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning 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. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases 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. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note 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 might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up Your Website WordPress
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site 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 whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much 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 process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered significantly given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help repair 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still don’t 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 handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
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 somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact 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 use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Speed Up Your Website WordPress
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably 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 rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features 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 don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued 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 aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Speed Up Your Website WordPress