WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Founder
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then 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. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price 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 alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Founder
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular 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. Wpengine Founder
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big 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 quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Founder
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex 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 might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Founder
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Founder
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about customer 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 spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer 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 remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Founder
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display 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 Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Founder
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 point out any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Founder
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Founder
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & projects 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 fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Founder
All that stated, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Founder
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video numerous 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 substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Founder
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. 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 allows for less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same opts for 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 utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant 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 rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Founder
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage 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” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of many 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 regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. 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 unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to fret 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 guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wpengine Founder