WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Customers
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival 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 traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Customers
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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. Wp Engine Customers
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Customers
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, 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 begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain 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 complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Customers
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Customers
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 actually 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 thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able 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 just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Customers
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically 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. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Customers
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
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 simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates 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 worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 month-to-month 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 don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Customers
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated 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, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however likewise on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have altered significantly because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand since they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Customers
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome 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 basic user. Wp Engine Customers
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video numerous 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will 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 get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of 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 Customers
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & 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 have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad 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 method their pricing is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Customers
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly 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 & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Customers