WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Headquarters
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Headquarters
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored 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 different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. 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. Wpengine Headquarters
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective 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 Headquarters
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes 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 aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Headquarters
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Headquarters
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Headquarters
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able 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 during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Headquarters
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible 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 investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. 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 very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, 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 website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Headquarters
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price 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 each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense 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 worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge 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 discuss any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical concerns, 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 an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Headquarters
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers 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 first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, 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, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Headquarters
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed radically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Headquarters
All that said, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Wpengine Headquarters
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Headquarters
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number 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 need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Headquarters
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of 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 local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wpengine Headquarters