WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimized Blogger
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimized Blogger
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
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 separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized 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 various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before 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 but I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Optimized Blogger
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. WordPress Optimized Blogger
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Optimized Blogger
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually 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 additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers 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 information to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimized Blogger
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimized Blogger
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge 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 company has actually 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 stated, the tough aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call 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 remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimized Blogger
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. 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 benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Optimized Blogger
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, 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 a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Optimized Blogger
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated 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, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. WordPress Optimized Blogger
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed significantly since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimized Blogger
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like many 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 discuss finest practice for the basic user. WordPress Optimized Blogger
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites 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 are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimized Blogger
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise 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 rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), however 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 pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting costs 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 even more if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes 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 really do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Optimized Blogger
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly 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 elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. WordPress Optimized Blogger