WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Workflow
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Workflow
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being 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 offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Workflow
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist 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 assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Workflow
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Workflow
They don’t even enable 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 do well on their platform since 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, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note 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 because you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Workflow
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Workflow
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big 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 company has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Workflow
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). 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 entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues 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 guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Workflow
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very 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 plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Workflow
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental 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 frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, 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 performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Workflow
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks 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 suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site since I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Workflow
All that said, here are some of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Workflow
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video multiple 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 custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Workflow
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, 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 typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Workflow
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
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 assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Workflow