WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Professional
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Professional
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. 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 separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses 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 website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This review will take a 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 Professional
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Professional
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Professional
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing 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 among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website 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 may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Professional
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Professional
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. 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, however you never ever understand 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 treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Professional
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear 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 means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty 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 is still ultimately 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 whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally 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 Professional
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each 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 cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Professional
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds 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 customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth 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 budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Professional
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & 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 fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this website because I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Professional
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Professional
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view 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 huge offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Professional
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique 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 foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized 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 versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses 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 lots of plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Professional
Many shared hosting servers can handle 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 fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Professional