WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Backup Files
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. WordPress Backup Files
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying 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 higher price point, so that the website 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 choices, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal 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 webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Backup Files
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects considering that 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 loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. WordPress Backup Files
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. WordPress Backup Files
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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, among other 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 nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Backup Files
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Backup Files
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (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 & 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 said, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has connected with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Backup Files
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However 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 Web. That means 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. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually 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 & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Backup Files
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But 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 total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost 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 personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Backup Files
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous habits 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 promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. WordPress Backup Files
WP Engine stands out not only on present features but likewise on creating brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & projects with developers.
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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Backup Files
All that stated, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice 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 very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. WordPress Backup Files
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several 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 substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Backup Files
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good 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 extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting bills 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 allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, 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 actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. WordPress Backup Files
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits 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 fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. WordPress Backup Files