WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
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 specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ 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 different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying 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 cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. 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 Optimization Plugin
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion 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 Optimization Plugin
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate 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. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming 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 just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 since you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge focus 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody 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 mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 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 on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually knew the great workings 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 client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value 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 distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & an usually pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. 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 monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed drastically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate best practices into implementation & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not use them for this site because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, 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 with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor extra hosting costs 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
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 assurance. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Optimization Plugin