WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Themes
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Themes
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, 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 differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price 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 various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great 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 options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Themes
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites 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 benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Themes
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Themes
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method 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 back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Themes
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Themes
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since 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 position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & 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 tough aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Themes
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear 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 means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” 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 firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Themes
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also 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 website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Themes
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed 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, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than 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 revision. Wp Engine Themes
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have altered significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Themes
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages 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 quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Themes
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video several 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 really going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Themes
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Themes
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans 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 & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Themes