WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Security
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote 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 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 actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost 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 options, however as an entire, they all take on 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, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This review 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 Security
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist 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, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Security
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific 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. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Wpengine Security
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional 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 start packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free 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 supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Security
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Security
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Security
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Security
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price 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 monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little 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 thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. 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 pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Security
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Security
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but likewise on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed radically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
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 best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Security
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Security
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist repair 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Security
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor 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 site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Security
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Security