WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Letsencrypt
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Letsencrypt
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually 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 vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions 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 install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Letsencrypt
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects given that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client 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 companies discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine Letsencrypt
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Letsencrypt
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website 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 free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, however they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Letsencrypt
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Letsencrypt
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling 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 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 & 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 stated, the hard feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know 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 point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain 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. Wpengine Letsencrypt
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected 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 & all set to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Letsencrypt
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just 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 entire monthly cost 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 don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost 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 mention any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Letsencrypt
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, 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 & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Letsencrypt
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered radically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Letsencrypt
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Letsencrypt
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Letsencrypt
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related 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 not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Letsencrypt
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle 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 fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, 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 pointed out previously that does not even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Letsencrypt