WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Speed
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual 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 web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Speed
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Speed
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to remove 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 lots of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Speed
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Speed
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Speed
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. 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 so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with really knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Speed
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value 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 suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly straightforward:
- 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 observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Speed
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is 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 really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Speed
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds 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 performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Speed
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Speed
All that stated, 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 promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Speed
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video several 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 deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists 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 why 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 have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Speed
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real 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 prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Speed
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include a lot 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 additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Speed