WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Performance
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. WordPress Optimize Performance
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed 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 handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but 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 complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Optimize Performance
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their discount 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 Optimize Performance
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
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 few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Optimize Performance
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra 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 quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that method 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 even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Performance
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimize Performance
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 stated, the hard aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimize Performance
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear 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 indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Optimize Performance
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee 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 entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Performance
Like I stated at the start, 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 consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site 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 site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated 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 & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. WordPress Optimize Performance
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs 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 suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimize Performance
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, 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, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. WordPress Optimize Performance
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, but I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. WordPress Optimize Performance
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise 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 rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any 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 performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. WordPress Optimize Performance
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration 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 check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
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 assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. WordPress Optimize Performance