WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engines
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engines
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engines
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engines
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating 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 one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many 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 packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engines
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engines
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never 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 fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with really knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engines
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully 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 take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engines
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy 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 exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) 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 small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular 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 could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engines
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. 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 ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move 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 & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engines
WP Engine excels not only on current features but likewise on creating new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed drastically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & 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 suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they just aren’t a fit for everybody. 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 website since I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engines
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engines
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help fix 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 look after all of it.
But, 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 don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engines
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise 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 consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted 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 prices is structured enables less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have 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 website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of 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 seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engines
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have 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. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
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 simplify things. Wp Engines