WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Fios
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. 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 “best fit” for. Wpengine Fios
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine Fios
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, 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 doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wpengine Fios
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up 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 start loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Fios
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Fios
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Fios
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to understand 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns worldwide 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 totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Fios
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually 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 thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Fios
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, 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 want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Fios
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Fios
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
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 likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Fios
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help fix 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Fios
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with 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; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect 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 enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying 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 automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Fios
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period 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 fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically 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 pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, 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 simplify things. Wpengine Fios