WP Engine Reviewed: Much More Than Your Average WordPress WebHost
I realise the world of website hosting is very confusing but WP Engine really simplifies things for anyone operating a WordPress website. WordPress is a really powerful content management system but if not setup correctly it can run slowly and plugins can often cause problems.
WP Engine have built a enterprise grade web hosting solution that allows you to use best practices when dealing with your WordPress site – and that means fewer headaches, more money, and the time to focus on your business instead of WordPress. Whats even better is that their starter plan gives you enterprise grade performance at a really affordable price. I have personally used shared hosting and reseller hosting with popular WordPress sites and the hosting has just not coped adequately. And the more fancy plugins you add, the worse the situation can become if your host is not optimised like WP Engine.
Update To This Article
Since writing this article about WPEngine managed WordPress web hosting they have made a number of improvements to their service. They have improved their backups to add more flexibility and security. Being able to take snapshots of your website whenever you want and quickly restore your site through your control panel, after doing some testing, is a great feature.
WPEngine allocates traffic resources based on the number of visitors to your website. However a recent problem on the internet, experienced by all of us, is that many so called bots and fake search engines are visiting our websites and using up our traffic allowance. These visits can be in the tens of thousands per month and really make analysing your web traffic difficult.
WPEngine has recently changed their traffic policy so that only real human visits to your website count towards your traffic allowance and they absorb the visits by bots. This is a marvellous improvement and makes running your website cheaper.
Faster WordPress Hosting = More Money
WP Engine has engineered a solution that makes your site’s speed the primary focus. They do this through their proprietary caching infrastructure EverCache, which uses 3 levels of caching throughout the WordPress stack to deliver pre-rendered pages faster than ever before. You cannot find this proprietary system with any other host.
While most WordPress hosts require you to manage caching yourself, WP Engine takes care of it for you. So you can get back to working on your site, working on your business, or just relaxing – instead of configuring caching plugins and tearing your hair out when there are errors, and believe me there will be errors when you have to do it yourself. I have tried all the caching plugins and the most popular one, W3 Total Cache (which I don’t use anymore) is a real pain, and very difficult to configure. It really is much simpler to go with WP Engine.
All of this makes your site faster – by removing the processing burden WordPress typically requires, WP Engine makes your site faster, better, and stronger.
And faster sites don’t just load quicker – they convert better and make more money. Site and page speed also effects AdWords quality score, SEO, and more factors. Additionally, with the rise of the mobile internet, page speed is vitally important to ensuring visitors on mobile devices have a good experience.
Developer Tools That Save Time
Most WordPress websites are deployed using ftp. If multiple people modify the site, then the ftp site becomes the canonical version. If someone doesn’t download the latest changes from the FTP site before publishing their changes, other changes might be overwritten. This has all been fixed with the advent of source control management systems like Git.
Git allows you to store your site’s code in a central location, in addition to locally on your machine. Changes from all developers are easily merged, and a record is kept of who did what. You can work on multiple versions of the site simultaneously, and only push the changes that you want to go live.
Managing changes through source control is the best way to do professional web development today – but most hosts are stuck in the stone ages. However, WP Engine has embraced the modern paradigm of source control and time saving developer tools and allows you to publish your site using an existing Git repository.
This feature has been amazing for many teams – it allows them to simultaneously work on multiple features at a time, and deploy those with one simple command. Using the Git deployment method of WP Engine has other benefits as well.
It checks your PHP syntax to make sure it’s correct. Gone are the days when you deploy only to have the dreaded white screen and not know where to start looking. That code will never make it into production in the first place.
WordPress Website Staging Environment: Making Sure Bad Code Never Sees the Light of Day
Further saving your website from downtime, WP Engine provides staging sites by default which means that you can test out changes to your site quickly and easily. This gives you the opportunity to test new plugins, new themes, and even new content away from your production site – so if something goes wrong, your revenue is never affected.
Then, pushing your staging site live is a snap – simply press “Copy Site from Staging to Live”, and now your development site is now your production site.
I have had both free and paid plugins on a WordPress site cause a site to malfunction and you then have to work out what has caused the problem – all the time your site visitors are suffering because they can’t use your website properly. This staging environment really saves the stress levels as you have plenty of time to fix any problem.
Automatic Backups Of Your WordPress Website
WP Engine automatically backs up your site every 24 hours. You can also schedule manual backups anytime you wish – so you can back up new changes and new posts on the fly.
So now you can make changes, install new things, and even if you push something over from your staging environment and something strange happens, you can easily revert to a backup.
No custom WordPress plugins are needed – it all happens without your intervention. You never have to worry if your data is safe.
This also means you don’t have to purchase a backup plugin, configure it and then purchase additional storage space with for example Dropbox to store your backups.
Between automatic backups and the WP Engine staging environment, white screen errors, theme problems, problems with plugins, and other technical issues will never see the light of day – and never effect your revenue.
WP Engine automatically updates your WordPress installation as new stable versions are released. This means that your WordPress install is always on the latest version – and thus avoids most of the security issues associated with running an old version of WordPress.
WP Engine Support
Finally, WP Engine support is extremely quick and helpful in the rare cases that you will need them.
WP Engine is a new breed of managed WordPress host – and in that space, is the standout amongst the players in the space.
If you’d like to spend your time playing with server settings, go for it. But if you want to focus on content, design, your business – or really anything except being a WordPress systems administrator, WP Engine is for you.
I really endorse WP Engine as a great web hosting solution for your business, whatever size your business is.