WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Speed Up
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Speed Up
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation 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. Website Speed Up
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their 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. Website Speed Up
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Website Speed Up
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional 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 data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Speed Up
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Speed Up
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big 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 & 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 thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Speed Up
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Website Speed Up
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing 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 very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Speed Up
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, 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 client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. 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 site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Website Speed Up
WP Engine excels not just on present features however likewise on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Speed Up
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Website Speed Up
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Speed Up
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish 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 allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for 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.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Website Speed Up
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Speed Up