WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Hosting Plans
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, 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 care.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional 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 information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered 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 hard feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including 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 understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But 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 whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better assigned 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 an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears 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 very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with 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, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits 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 offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but likewise on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that 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 good suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help 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 most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. 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 permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably 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 price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically 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 & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Hosting Plans