Problems With Hosting WordPress
In the past we experienced a number of issues when hosting WordPress websites. Before we started using WP Engine we were finding that our regular clients websites updates required were becoming time consuming which was having a knock on effect to other areas of the business. At that point we did not have an alternative option that would make the processes run smoothly and efficiently.
We encountered further issues when it came to using Git, our version control software, as we would have to manually configure the server to host the new data. This again is a very time consuming process, meaning we had to spend more hours on these tasks than we would have liked.
Another of the biggest problems we faced was ensuring a site’s security. Security had to be manually configured which was a lengthy process that took up a lot of time. With security being a high priority for our clients, this played a huge part in our decision to switch hosting to WP Engine.
Further issues before the switch included problems with performance enhancements as all of the caching and plugins had to be manually configured.
All of these elements took time to configure to the point where we felt comfortable with the level of service we were providing our clients. We soon realised we were spending too much time on the hosting issues so we started doing some research into other places to host our websites.
After identifying that we needed to move to a different host, the first step we took was to conduct some research into other hosting providers available on the market. There are lots of different companies to choose from but one in particular we had heard very good things about. WP Engine seemed to have continuously good reviews from others using their services so we thought we would give them a trial hosting our own agency website with them initially.
Advantages of using WP Engine
WP Engine has a number of benefits which were identified in our research prior to trialing their hosting facilities.
Reading about the benefits and strength of WP Engine’s security levels, we were keen to try it out for ourselves. WP Engine continuously perform security and malware scans to ensure that the WordPress sites are safe from attacks. The WordPress specific security platform adds another layer of security alongside the measures we implement as part of the project we undertake which gives us (and our clients) peace of mind as well as taking away much of the time previously spent manually configuring security.
Another beneficial feature of WP Engine is the ability to access a staging environment. This allows for a replica website to be accessed which allows updates to be made away from the live website. Once updates have been thoroughly tested on the staging environment, they can then be quickly deployed to the live site.
This process ensures that all new updates have been fully tested before they go-live which we believe is particularly important, even when running minor plugin updates.
The WPEngine Git push facility allows us to have much more control over our websites. At the click of a button you can have the new updates up and running immediately meaning the development and deployment process time is reduced dramatically.
Built in CDN
WPEngine also hosts its own CDN helping the content on a website load much faster. The CDN can be switched on with the click of a button and WP Engine sorts out the rest, including URL rewrites and distribution of content. The content is loaded from servers in lots of different locations which allows the content to reach the viewer faster. This means that any burst of traffic a site may experience will not have a negative impact on page load times.
Lightening Fast Nginx Webserver
The nginx web server offers lightening speed in terms of its delivery of content. It can handle up to four times the amount of traffic compared to Apache, and with Google paying more interest in web performance and speed of a website, this has never been more important.
Impressive data and page caching
A facility to manually flush the cache can speed up the recaching of content. This is something that WP Engine do automatically, but that can be done on demand manually. They are also twice as fast compared to their main competitor as the result of banning all caching plugins.
Integrated GeoIP Facilities
WP Engine GeoIP integrates with your sites to bring content that caters to the visitor’s location. Having the ability to display content geographically opens up a whole host of possibilities including geo-marketing and localisation.
Opinion after 12 months
- After 12 months hosting with WP Engine we have moved 90% of our WordPress clients over because of our positive experience and the benefits it has given us
- Our hosting maintenance has been reduced by 60% with clients using WP Engine because of the automated systems in place
- The additional time the reduction in maintenance has created new capacity for development which has allowed us to become more profitable
Our clients WordPress sites using WP Engine are now:
- Significantly lighter without the need for the same level of performance enhancing features
- Much more secure because of WPEngine’s continuous security and malware scans
- The site speeds are much faster
The has a few initial issues with the WPEngine support responsives, however, over the last 6 months on the odd occasion when we have needed support, they have been very prompt and professional in solving our issues.
Looking towards the future we are comfortable in continuing our hosting with WP Engine, especially with their lab showing some interesting developments happening with:
WP Engine are looking at ways for your site to offer the fastest and most accurate search experience. They are launching a new search plugin powered by Elasticsearch to help keep your search results fast and highly accurate, reducing the load on your server.
HHVM is an open-source virtual machine used to create programmes produced in Hack and PHP. It uses a mixed approached to reach superior performance but still maintain the development flexibility provided by PHO. WP Engine are currently pairing with this technology to create some exciting releases on their WP Engine Mercury platform.
Find out more about hosting with WP Engine and how it can benefit your website.