Web hosting is usually an afterthought in the process of launching a website. However, once you start attracting a lot of traffic or find security holes in your hosting, you might want to look at a proper WordPress hosting solution such as WPEngine.
Not only is a dedicated WordPress host able to handle lots of traffic, it also helps to optimize your WordPress website so it loads and runs quicker. You'll never have to worry about your WordPress site again, WPEngine will take care of all the technical aspects of hosting a WordPress website, even migrating your existing website over to their server.
Why Choose WP Engine?
You are probably wondering why anyone would pay for premium WordPress hosting when a $6 a month subscription to a shared web host does how it looks like the same thing as WPEngine. While WPEngine is not for everyone, it does offer a great service for those that are serious about their WordPress websites. Not only will you have a dedicated managed hosting company powering your website, but you'll also have access to features such as added security and many other things.
The biggest consideration in determining whether you should sign up with WP Engine is your audience. Do you run an online business and need a fast website to avoid giving a bad impression to your customers? Or maybe you are running a high traffic website and notice that your existing web host cannot cope with your traffic load.
What's in it for you?
WPEngine's premium price tag comes with features that a normal web host doesn't offer. Here are some of the benefits of hosting your website on their servers.
Faster Loading Times
As mentioned above, one of the biggest draws of WP Engine is the website optimization that allows for faster loading speeds. WP Engine utilizes a self-developed architecture they call Evercache to deliver pages to your users within milliseconds. WPEngine also utilizes a CDN system that serves your static content from “edge” servers that reduce latency to your users.
The developers at WPEngine have also taken the initiative to optimze the WordPress core code and HTML output to further reduce load times. WPEngine also encourages you to use scalable plugins to avoid slowing down your website.
Great Technical Support
Everyone on the WPEngine team is a WordPress expert, which means all your WordPress problems will be resolved with little to no problems. When you experience a problem with your website, you can relax knowing that a team of WordPress developers is there to help you. You'll never have to feel daunted about contacting multiple levels of customer support to reach someone that can actually help you, because everyone on the WPEngine team can solve your problem.
Many customers report that WPEngine provides excellent technical support, but it isn't available all the time (we'll touch on that later).
Robust and Stable
WP Engine promises its customers a 99.99% uptime and has gone to great lengths to equip their servers with the latest technology to ensure everything runs smoothly. This is the quality of service that you get for the premium price tag.
While cheaper web hosting is relatively safe and offers some protection, if you are running a serious online business you are going to be attacked by malicious hackers sometime in the future. WPEngine has taken the time to implement security measures to ensure you are as safe as possible on the internet.
If a hacker does somehow bypass the security and compromise your website, WP Engine offers to fix and restore your WordPress website for free. Most cheaper web hosts will either not bother or charge a hefty fee to restore your hacked website. Although you should be in the habit of making your own backups, if you don't have a backup of your website, WPEngine uses Amazon S3 services to perform backups of all their websites so you won't lose everything if you are hacked.
Free Developer Tools
Being WordPress developers themselves the WPEngine team are passionate about WordPress development and have included tools to help you create your own personalized website. Error logs, troubleshooting and HTML markup tools are all included in the web hosting package.
Built-in Backup Function
WP Engine comes with a one-click backup solution and they also perform regular backups of all their websites. Even if something were to happen to your WordPress website, you will most likely have a back up somewhere that you can use to restore your WordPress website. Alongside the one-click back up feature is a one-click restore feature which you can use to revert your website back to a previous backup.
The WPEngine team understands how important your website can be and have put measures in place to prevent you from losing everything you've worked so hard to build.
Spend Less Time Worrying About Your Website
Take the worry and stress out of running a website and concentrate on the important things such as your business. Let the WPEngine team handle all the complicated technical stuff so you don't have to waste time each day wondering if your website is going to break down.
With reputable companies such as SoundCloud, HTC and foursquare all giving positive testimonials about the WPEngine system, you can relax knowing a team of dedicated WordPress experts are working tirelessly each day to keep your website running.
For a one-time fee you can import an existing WordPress website into your new WPEngine account. Have one of WPEngine's engineers take a look at your website and determine the best strategy to migrating it to your brand new WPEngine service.
Boosts SEO for Your WordPress Website
Studies have shown that website speed is taken into consideration for Google rankings. The faster your website loads, the higher you will be placed on the Google search results. On average every additional 100ms of time spent waiting for a webpage to load means a 20% loss in traffic.
While WPEngine charges you on a per month basis, you aren't tied down by a contract and can leave at any time without any hidden fees or penalties. WPEngine believes that they should earn your business every month and you should only stay as long as you are happy.
I knew from the start that the #1 single most important decision would be the hosting provider. There’s loads of options out there and my business partner and I tested several of the key players in the market. Ultimately we went with WP Engine…while not the cheapest option out there, they offer the most impressive list of features. Add to that the quick responses we get from WP Engine’s support team and you’ve got a solid win.
Traditional Hosts: Beware of this new breed of hosting. WP Engine removes the need for a caching plugin. They’re faster than 97% of all websites tested by Pingdom. WP Engine enables your site to be as fast without the optimization tricks. Their support has earned an A+ in my book. The WP Engine staging area is a favorite of my development team, no more developing on a live platform. That gives them a hat trick.
WP Engine is not Perfect. What to Consider Before Signing Up?
While WPEngine offers a great dedicated WordPress hosting solution, like most things in this world, it isn't perfect. Here are some of the drawbacks and flaws that exist in their system.
Customer Support Isn't 24x7
Customer support isn't available 24x7 which is a weird decision since they are a company that pride themselves on providing a constant and reliable service. And telephone customer service is only available to customers who purchase their business hosting plan which starts at $249 per month, the other packages only offer email customer support.
No Email Hosting
WPEngine doesn't come with email or webmail hosting capabilities. So if want an email address that ends with your domain name, you will need to implement it yourself. There are a couple of different solutions for this problem such as Google Apps or Zoho email, which can be used to run an email host on the WPEngine system.
Some WordPress Plug-ins are Disallowed
Some plugins you use may be on the list of disallowed plugins compiled together by the WPEngine team. If you rely on some of these plugins you are going to have to find alternatives because they affect your WordPress website on WPEngine and will not work when you switch over to WPEngine hosting.
The WPEngine team constantly update their list of featured apps which they support and encourage users to try. These are usually lightweight and non-intrusive plugins that are scalable and don't slow down website performance too much.
While the price of hosting your WordPress website on WPEngine isn't too steep, it can begin to start to compound when you decide to run more than one website on their servers. A single website sets you back $29 a month. Whether it's worth it depends on your circumstances and website hosting needs. It is quite a big difference in price when compared to cheaper web hosting services, but if you are serious about your website you will understand the benefits and how valuable it is to have all the features and services on offer from WPEngine.
WPEngine's Take on Support
We're working towards offering 24/7 support every week with the new hires we're bringing on. WP Engine has the most WordPress experts on support per customer than any other hosting company, and we are adding more and more staff to our evening and weekend support staff.
WPEngine's Take on Email Hosting
We do not provide email as part of the hosting package. We just host WordPress sites, so we fully commit all of our resources to doing WordPress Hosting.
WPEngine’s take on Disallowed Plugins
WP Engine is a premium host because we are always looking out for ways that you can make your site faster and more scalable. We serve an incredible amount of data across tens of thousands of domains every single day, and that gives us ample opportunity to troubleshoot and resolve those one-in-a-million exceptions on a regular basis. For plugins that increase the load of our server unnecessarily, we will disallow them to ensure websites hosted with WP Engine are optimized and loading fast.
Interview with Austin Gunter, the Brand Ambassador of WP Engine
Many sites that run on the self-hosted WordPress are still powered by share hosting. Please give 3 reasons why they should switch to managed WordPress hosting.
It all comes down to security, scalability, and support. Shared hosting providers don't manage security for their users, and actually leave websites vulnerable to security vectors by default. If shared hosting users aren't savvy, they don't know the difference between a secure and insecure website. A managed host like WP Engine takes care of the security for you, so whether or not you actually know how to manage your own security, WP Engine takes care of it, and guarantees the security so you have peace of mind.
In terms of scalability, a shared host will actually limit your site's ability to scale. They'll actually throttle your traffic if you get a huge burst of new visitors. That's the worst time to have your host throttle you! A managed host is designed to scale under high traffic loads. That's literally what they're designed to do. What's more, your managed host is designed to scale only WordPress, and a shared host is going to not specialize, so they'll be slower by default. WP Engine has hosted sites that had 8 million viewers in under 12 hours and not seen page load times increase one bit.
Support is the final bit. WP Engine hires only WordPress experts on support, and we have the most per customer of any host. A shared host is going to have legions of support folks whose only job is to tell you, "we don't understand WordPress.
There are quite a number of managed WordPress hosts available. What are your strengths in this market?
WP Engine has managed to be the leader in the managed WordPress space because of a few basic things. We've made sure to hire alongside our growth, so the company now has the largest support staff to continue providing each of our customers with the best possible technical support.
We also have a growing suite of proprietary technology and features that set us apart. We have our own caching system called EverCache that is capable of caching WordPress elements at every level of the stack, from the server on up, which is something that plugin caching is incapable of doing. WP Engine is also the only host to offer a one-click staging area, Git Push for version control, automated daily backups of your site, and a number of other features.
What's more, customers see a speed increase of 2x-4x depending on which managed host they switch from.
WPEngine is growing at fast pace. How do you scale your business to satisfy the increasing customer base?
I'm really proud to say that our company leadership has taken steps to bake a culture of customer service into our company. As we grow, we continue to hire based on the same values we had with 15 employees at 50 employees, and we're fairly uncompromising about that. There isn't some "secret" to scaling a business, I think it all comes down to setting your standards for hiring and then holding one another accountable to that. Here's a blog post that Jason Cohen, our CEO wrote about this: http://wpengine.com/2012/11/creating-a-company-culture-that-thrills-customers-at-wp-engine/
We also are constantly improving our technology stack and features to appeal to our growing customer base. There are lots of things I can't talk about yet, but I'm excited about the "new awesome" that we have in development right now!
We've set a high bar for ourselves, and that means we have to show up every day determined to make progress!
A lot of the small-sized web owners have more than one website. Paying $99 per month is unaffordable to most of them. Do you have plans to roll out semi-managed hosting that allows multiple domains at a lower price?
We're actually seeing more and more business owners who "get it" that paying for cheap hosting is more expensive than paying a managed host like WP Engine who can provide the managed hosting as a service. $99 a month is cheap when it prevents a hack from happening. Hacks can cost thousands of dollars.
Even more compelling is the value of a small business owner's time. They need to focus their energies on building and running their business. If running a website isn't their core competency, then outsourcing it will free up hours of their month that they can pour back into their business, or even better, time that they can reclaim to be with their families.
After all the discussions. Is WPEngine Worth the Money?
You are going to have to figure out yourself if WPEngine is worth it for you or not. Each user's needs and circumstances are unique so I can't give a definitive answer for everyone. However, if you take a careful look at what is on offer from WPEngine you should realize that it is an affordable and practical solution for people who are serious about their websites.
If you still aren't sure about whether you should switch to their services or not, try them out over a 60-day period for FREE. WPEngine isn't for everyone, but if you are serious about your WordPress website, you should keep this hosting company in mind. You may not need their services right now, but down the track you may need more powerful web hosting capabilities.