WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Website
While they have lots of competitors 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 innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with 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 lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up Website
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount 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. Speed Up Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry 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 might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Speed Up Website
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the site 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 may get with other services since you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they also supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up Website
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 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 consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody 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 point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge 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 cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Website
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Speed Up Website
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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 very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website
All that said, here are some of the larger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help repair 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 everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Speed Up Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with 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 reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Speed Up Website