Anyone who’s had to battle with slow hosting, bad customer support, or poor quality WordPress hosting knows the pain of trying to get it all working properly. Bad hosting has a direct impact on your bottom line.
Nielsen estimates that users will leave a website within 20 seconds. You could be losing traffic due to slow page loads, and you’d probably never know.
Fortunately, there are providers out there that have shown that they’re trustworthy and capable of providing excellent service. Read on to see how hosting with WP Engine can give your website new life.
WordPress accounts for a massive 42% of all websites on the internet. That means that the business of hosting WordPress websites is growing all the time. As we mentioned above, your WordPress hosting can make or break your business.
Of course, when we’re talking about WordPress Hosting, it’s important to understand what this actually entails. WordPress itself can be quite a heavy application with thousands of available plugins and themes. Each plugin adds a little bit to your website footprint as well as the load time.
Good WordPress hosting puts a lot of emphasis on efficiency and will tweak services to be as fast as possible. Some providers even go as far as customizing plugins and themes and employing CDNs to bring your content to customers faster.
Benefits of Using WP Engine
WP Engine, first founded in 2010, has dominated the WordPress hosting industry almost since it started. We’ve detailed a few key benefits below.
1. Customer Support
There’s a reason that Customer Support is first on the list. In a 2017 survey, Microsoft found that around 96% of consumers said customer service was important to brand loyalty. WP Engine has consistently ranked high for customer service and support, and it’s been part of their core offering since they started.
Not only do they provide excellent video resources, but they also have extensive knowledgebase articles that should solve almost any problem for you. If you’re still stuck after trawling through the resources available, contacting support is very likely to get you the solution you need.
Things haven’t always been perfect for WP Engine. In 2014, they faced significant criticism about their customer support model. Instead of burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the issues, they went out and proactively tackled them, earning a batch of loyal customers.
One of the most important metrics to measure customer support is investment. How much and how seriously a company invests in their customer support structure will tell you a lot about how well you’re likely to be treated.
When you’re having a crisis, you simply cannot afford to deal with incompetent or non-existent support staff. WP Engine offers 24/7 365 support with trained personnel who know WordPress inside out.
WordPress performance is a lot like a finely tuned engine. No matter how good your engine is, you can expect to have a bad experience if it’s not running at its peak.
Managed WordPress hosting gives you a distinct advantage by ensuring that the engine you run on is already running as well as it can be before you start. Straight out of the box, WordPress is actually quite well optimized, but as soon as you start adding plugins, themes, and extra features, you will likely see a distinct slowdown.
A clever company can mitigate this to a large extent by cleverly structuring hosting to take advantage of caching, CDNs, and highly optimized web servers. In addition, once you throw in customer support agents that are trained to go into your install and find every possible bottleneck, you’re likely to see a significant increase in speed.
There are two important metrics that you should measure for your site:
This statistic measures how long it takes for the browser to get the first byte of your website from your web server. The process starts with the request to the server and ends as soon as the client gets the first part of your site.
The render or “start render” is a measurement showing how long it takes for the first changes to be visible to a user. This is the first sign to a customer that the website is actually doing something.
Slow render numbers will lead to frustrated customers and sluggish feeling websites. Tackling this figure can make a huge difference to the perception customers have of your site.
WordPress itself is not insecure, but there will inevitably be some security flaws with many thousands of plugins and themes out in the wild. Of course, the biggest security flaw will always be human error, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock down all the security issues you can.
Just having a company managing your WordPress install makes everything much easier. A good hosting company will apply all the latest patches, automatically update your software, and make sure every website on the platform follows best practices.
WP Engine makes use of a host of security measures, including customized firewalls and a security team on call at all times. In addition, all data centers go through rigorous auditing every year.
4. Packages That Fit
Whether you’re just starting with your website or already have a constant stream of thousands of users, you need a package that fits your needs. Balance is important – it makes no more sense to oversubscribe and waste money than to try going the cheap way and lose customers.
WP Engine features are best-in-breed and encompass everything from making your life easier to keep your data safe. To be clear, these features come standard with WP Engine; they’re not an extra charge.
When you’re not happy with your current host, one of the worst feelings is knowing how hard it will be to get your data out. Some hosts hold your information to ransom, and a billing dispute or notice to leave can mean a prolonged fight to get your site working again.
WP Engine built a migration plugin that you can use with very little knowledge to transfer your data across. All you need to do is enter your username and password, and the tool will do the rest for you.
Any developer knows how much overlap there is between clients. It’s not often that you get a completely new request. Being able to copy from a template site effortlessly cuts down on development time significantly.
Another developer favourite, the ability to transfer the billing for an account to your client, is tremendously useful. Simply sign up for an account, build the site to your client’s specifications and then shift it over to them once you’re done.
This feature is a quick and easy way to deal with the most pervasive fear of both developers and clients. Clients fear that developers will keep the property or make it hard to take ownership, and developers fear that clients will not pay once the project is delivered.
Since 2014, WP Engine has had automated disaster recovery tools built into its offering. This isn’t the most outrageous or “sexy” feature on the list, but it’s certainly one of the most important.
Should the data center that you use for your hosting experience a critical failure, you have the option of automatically shifting traffic to a Disaster Recovery site without missing a beat. As a result, some customers will only experience a very brief outage, while most won’t notice the difference.
A combination of both automatic and manual backup plans gives you peace of mind for your data. Crucially, your backups are encrypted while they’re being transmitted and when they reach their eventual offsite home in Amazon’s S3 cloud.
All three environments (see below) are automatically included in the backup regime, and the system is configured to be overly cautious. You will have up to 40 backup points available to self-restore, and if you require something older, contacting support will get you up to 60 backup points.
6. Three Environments
We need to get into some naming conventions that are used at WP Engine. When the company talks about a “site”, they’re really talking about environments.
Each account has access to production, staging, and development sites. This means that you can effectively have three completely different states for your site running simultaneously.
Development is typically used for unstable, work-in-progress changes to your site. For example, perhaps you’re trying out a new theme or want to rebuild the way your homepage looks.
Staging is used to “stage” the changes from a development build before pushing them into production. Staging is where you would complete all your usability testing, checking that themes work without errors and that there are no clashes with plugins.
Once the changes to your staging environment have been signed off and you’re comfortable with them, they get moved to production. Production is your holy grail – it should be completely stable and represent what your customers will ultimately see.
It’s no mistake that WP Engine’s platform has become so popular. It’s more complex than most “simple” WordPress hosting offerings, but there are good reasons for that.
These don’t strictly fit under the features heading, as they’re part of the core offering that WP Engine provides.
Depending on the level of traffic you’re expecting or on whether your goal is to get the fastest loading speed, the network setup of your host makes a big difference.
WP Engine offers several enhancements that can help optimize your experience. There are currently four options for you to choose from:
Basic network – A simple 1:1 connection between your domain and WP Engine. This relies on DNS and does not enhance your connection or that of your clients.
Advanced Network – Faster and more secure than basic +, the advanced network works with Cloudflare. It blends some interesting server technology in the background to give the best result.
Global Edge Security – This is the only network you’ll pay extra for, and it goes above and beyond for security and control. This network type deals with caching, routing and firewalls.
We all know the saying “You get what you pay for,” and this is true for WordPress hosting as well. WP Engine comes in a little more expensive than some alternatives but certainly doesn’t break the bank.
Starting at $30 a month, if you consider the number of features, safeguards, and security peace of mind, it’s well worth it. What’s interesting is that as you approach each costing tier, you’ll notice that the benefits scale exponentially.
Moving up into the enterprise and large company hosting, benefits keep pace with rising costs. This includes perks such as guaranteed uptime, almost infinite scalability, and application performance monitoring.
Finding the Right WP Engine Partner
Now that you’ve got all the information you need about WordPress hosting, it’s time to find the right partner to work with. WP Engine is the best in breed hosting provider, but it can be complex and occasionally take more time than you have to set it up.
We have years of experience dealing with WordPress, and as we’re a WP Engine Partner, we can be trusted to steer you in the right direction and make sure that your experience is the best possible. So contact us today for a quick guide on how to go get going. Ask about order