WP Engine – Every WordPress users’ cure for the hosting hangovers from hell.
Maybe I’m blinded by love.
But I gotta say – after just 4 months I’m smitten to the core.
It’s true love. Meant to be. The real deal.
My journey with WP Engine started by chance after a horrendous time with previous hosting. Hacked sites. No backups despite gtee of daily restore points. Poor Service. ZILCH communication. Blacklisted emails. Ongoing database connection errors.
You name it. I endured it.
I’ve never felt so crappy, lost and low – incredible how IT stuff like this can affect you. More so because I felt as if I was meant to be the ‘protector’ for my client’s sites – despite it not really being my responsibility. I’m not the host. I know stuff-all about servers. My core business is building affordable WordPress websites. I have never, ever wanted the hosting headache.
But alas, you cannot expect to offer a service creating an online presence for a client without taking on at least a certain level of responsibility when it comes to hosting.
So I went in search of the best WP hosting service possible to help me crawl out of a pit of pure terror. Yeah – sounds OTT and ridiculously dramatic but when you’ve got sucuri.net and Google constantly sending you phishing notices, malware notices, mail is undeliverable and a host with IT support that just responds with “change your passwords”(ME: really? no sh#t – don’t you think I’ve already done that!), ‘it’s just WordPress” (ME: so are millions of other sites you mo fo’s!) OR, my favourite, “this is the internet” (ME: again, no sh#t sherlock!) – every waking hour of the day and night is filled with quick fixes and clean ups as you wait until the next attack hits.
It’s gruesome. I felt like an ‘out of my depth’ vigilante guarding my client’s sites, submitting sucuri.net tickets while I sucked on coffee through a straw in the early hours of the morning ensuring every single site under my care was following ALL recommended WP security best practices. Secret keys aren’t so secret to me anymore.
After months, suddenly….I.got.tired.and.could.not.take.it.any.more.
Good Times…The WP engine review begins…
Choosing a host is actually hard work.
I did my homework thoroughly. I couldn’t afford to move from one bad hosting environment to another. All this crap had to stop for me…and more importantly for my clients. I looked at all hosting options in OZ and, although some came close, nothing met my service expectations. None are WP only experts – well none that popped up in the first page of Google at least (hint to all you hosts out there – huge market here in OZ for this.)
I had 10 hosts on trial for a month – a month long ‘date’ with each – until I was finally wooed by the smooth-talking, but ever so genuine, incredibly impressive, non-complicated folks at wpengine.com.
My hosting headache was cured after one big ‘hellllllllooooo’ to Trafton from WP Engine. Yee Ha!
Trafton and I had a skype chat for about 30 mins. After, the relief was life-giving (yeah yeah that’s OTT again). After being flattened by the recent bad hosting times I suddenly felt like someone had just injected an adrenalin shot into me. There was hope. Not all was lost. I was in the race again.
I migrated my first site over not long after. (Migrating to WP Engine, by the way, is super easy on your own – give it a shot and save some dosh – beats paying someone else to do it for you. If you need help send me a message)
Now, after 4 months, I’ve completed the migration process and the bulk of my client’s sites are sitting pretty at WP Engine.
Top 5 Things (Plus One More) I’m LOVING The Most About WP Engine…
- The staging site. Lordy lord. The person who thought of this concept is the god of hosting in my eyes. I can throw a cat around in the back end and big deal/so what if it breaks something. I can add custom code, plugins and themes to my heart’s content. PLUS…gone is the need to hold onto blankie while performing WP core updates too!
- Restore Points. Refer to #1 – again, even on the live site I can ‘risk’ running amok with plugin updates and theme updates without sweating it. If errors occur it ain’t the end of the world. I click a button and we’re smooth sailing again.
- Awesome discount if you pay a year in advance. This makes a huge difference to me. I don’t make a cent out of hosting – in fact, it’s cost me money this year. Dang that! So any discount to me is like gold.
- Support Staff. These guys are incredible…even if it’s just because they have awesome names like “Chase”, “Chrishaun”, “Leandrew”, “Dustin” and “Donovon” – cool names. Cool people.
- Support Ticketing System. You HAVE to check out this screen shot of a support ticket from WPEngine – CLICK HERE. How awesome is Tony’s response. I love you get to see you’re actually talking to REAL people. They’ve become my new International workmates. I feel like I’m standing next to them at the water cooler.
PLUS ONE MORE…I love that I never have to think about rogue plugins – They’re the first to know about any script vulnerabilities and will alert you if your site has one installed…and even go one further and delete and replace the script – they did this on one of my sites that had a plugin that was using the old tim thumb script. With over 40 client sites it’s pretty much impossible to keep on top of this.
One teensy negative thing – I do miss cPanel days – sftp access to site files is OK via Filezilla but not as flexible, easy or intuitive. If there was one feature request to WP Engine it would be a webftp interface – something similar to what Dreamhost offers.
And oh – a note on price. Yes I know. They are way more expensive. But the value is enormous – they are worth every single penny – their service is an absolute 100% cure to the hosting hangovers from hell.
So, are WP Engine the Best WordPress hosts for you? If you’re like me and based in Australia your initial thoughts might be it’s an unwise move – stop thinking that way. With CDN the ‘lag’ issue doesn’t matter so much. Give em a whirl. I can gtee you’ll be suitably impressed.
Out for now.
Just a note of thanks to some of my clients who endured hiccups with mail and site issues before we all held hands together and moved over to WP Engine…
- Rachel – Ruby Slippers Styling Star Sydney Fashion Stylist – Your patience with email issues was astounding!
- Leah – Beam Retreats – Spa and Weekend Retreats in Sydney. Site wiped. No backup and first baby due in weeks! Thanks for sticking with me
- Mardi – Bali Destinations – Site wiped. No backup. After 3 weeks of going live. Not a good start to our relationship – your patience was astounding.
- The Ladies of Otomys.com – Mail issues galore! Thanks for your patience and understanding
AND the awesomeness of Karen Marvell from Castaway Island, Fiji who sent me oodles of wine and listened to my whinging and whining while I sorted out the mess.
Plus all the other clients who dealt with the fallout – intermittent mail issues and the like. You can thank WP Engine for saving the day. Yay!