WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Investment
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Investment
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website 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 take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Investment
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous projects since 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Investment
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website does not suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport 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 might just need 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 assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Investment
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated 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 rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 because you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Investment
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Investment
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Investment
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected 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 whatever 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 lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews 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 never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Investment
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning 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 check outs (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however 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 designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each 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 whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee 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 could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Investment
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
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 promises and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Investment
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed drastically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Investment
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site 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 newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Investment
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist fix 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 for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Investment
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Investment
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Investment