WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website 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 options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional 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 necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Plugin Optimize Image Size
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, 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, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed 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 bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that way 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 much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are 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 supplies an integrated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that 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 emphasis 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 company 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 stated, the difficult feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has 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 get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe 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 everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback 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 rates is amazing.
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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, 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 performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate best practices into implementation & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limits), 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 pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting expenses 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying 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 automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly 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 area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
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 warranty. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. WordPress Plugin Optimize Image Size