WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Backup Site
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Backup Site
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually 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 merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 site material + functionality.
Every competitor 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 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’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. WordPress Backup Site
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live 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. WordPress Backup Site
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. WordPress Backup Site
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Backup Site
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Backup Site
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (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 get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Backup Site
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means 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 advantage of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Backup Site
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every month. 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 upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Backup Site
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really 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 plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. WordPress Backup Site
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into execution & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Backup Site
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. WordPress Backup Site
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover 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 myriad of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. WordPress Backup Site
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related 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 consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier 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 performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. WordPress Backup Site
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed 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 deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. WordPress Backup Site