WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Backup Entire Website
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. WordPress Backup Entire Website
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just 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 managed 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 provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Backup Entire Website
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. WordPress Backup Entire Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. WordPress Backup Entire Website
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 since you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they also offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Backup Entire Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Backup Entire Website
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with 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 deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really 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 throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Backup Entire Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom 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 value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. WordPress Backup Entire Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. 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 prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Backup Entire Website
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. WordPress Backup Entire Website
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but likewise on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have changed significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they merely 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 consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Backup Entire Website
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. WordPress Backup Entire Website
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t 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 need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Backup Entire Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly 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 use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. WordPress Backup Entire Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies 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 talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. WordPress Backup Entire Website