What better topic to begin my first blog post than to discuss a company like WP Engine. Over the years, I have had to deal with the challenges of implementing SSL certificates, building and maintaining staging environments, and implementing reliable backup solutions. Then there’s managing CDN’s, processing object caches, establishing help and support all before migrating websites from one server to another before finally, and most importantly, running Google Page Speed. This is why I love WP Engine: It cuts my development time in half.
I imagine the creators of WP Engine are WordPress developers who are perceptive enough to recognize the need to address all of our programming issues. As a developer, we have all experienced common frustrations. These are the issues that plagued most of us in the past ten years.
HTTPS & SSL Certificates
Back in 2014, Google announced that it was using HTTPS as a ranking signal. The struggle was real. Anyone who builds websites understands the importance of Google Search rankings and a secure computer network.
It is a long and tedious process for other hosting companies to add HTTPS/SSL correctly. Not to mention any names *cough* HOSTGATOR *cough*. First, you have to purchase the certificate at anywhere from $40-$300, and then you have to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Then you have to contact them. Then contact them again. When that fails, you have to start sending them nasty emails. When they ignore those, you’re forced to blow up their twitter feed with the hopes of receiving some semblance of a response. And even after all that, it still takes forever for them to install the certificate.
Then comes securing all the insecure content to get that illustrious green padlock. Yes, there are plugins now, thankfully. WP Engine makes implementing SSL certificates as simple as pressing a button. Click. DONE! You might have noticed a recurring delightful attitude towards WP Engine. I wonder why that is?
There is one last significant point to note. SSL is free! Seriously. And not only is it free, but it is fully automated, renewing every 90 days. No more endless waiting for Hostgator to renew the SSL certificate. Oh, it seems I forgot to cough. Oops.
Migrating a Website with WP Engine
Just reading the words ‘migrating a website’, has you in a sweat, right? Not anymore. Install the WP Engine migration plugin and you’re done. That’s literally all you need to do. Before WP Engine, migration would take hours, days even. And if you host with GoDaddy, NEVER.
Several of my clients have had issues with website migrations on GoDaddy. And in the end, GoDaddy never seems to be able to figure out what went wrong. They fumble around for an answer while small businesses nearly go under. And their final conclusion is to try and pin the blame on anyone except themselves.
Have you had to upload a WordPress site onto a GoDaddy Server? It makes me angry just thinking about it. So much wasted time. If the file is larger than 1 kB, basically the size of an email, the server times out. Or even better, you think you’ve uploaded the file but then end up ripping out your hair out trying to figure out why your code isn’t working only to remember that you’re dealing with GoDaddy, and most likely the file was never uploaded in the first place.
Endless are the hours I’ve wasted trying to figure out why something isn’t working only to realize GoDaddy was the issue all along. Oh, and if you call them, they’ll just blame your machine. That is if they answer at all.
Try this. Show them the results of https://www.speedtest.net/. Then ask them, “How the heck are you STILL in Business?”
WP Engine’s Customer Service
Far from GoDaddy’s oblivious “customer service,” WP Engine makes you a priority. Have a problem, issue, or question? You are always FIRST in line. Their ringtone might as well be, “Current wait time is 0 minutes.” No joke.
Here’s the kicker: they HELP YOU! *Gasp*. Even if the issue is out of their scope, they’re readily waiting to help you succeed. (I try not to take advantage of that…but seriously, with that kind of care, it’s hard not to ask for a little extra guidance). How can you not appreciate that kind of dedication?
Staging and Production Environments
Years ago, this was an impossible feat with WordPress. Larger companies steered clear from using it. NOT anymore. Now they have 1-Click staging along with no server-side caching and daily backups that support both staging and production environments.
Here is another one all of us developers have had to deal with: Google Page Speed and WordPress. Again, it was almost impossible to adhere to your clients’ design and have a decent PageSpeed score. WP Engine has changed that. They built a custom WordPress specific EverCache system and only host WordPress websites on it. The result? It delivers pages in 150 milliseconds. And on top of that, they’re the only WordPress hosting company that includes a fully managed CDN service.
When I first found WP Engine, I was thrown off by the cost. Hostgator starts at $2.64/month, and Godaddy is $1-$8 a month. However, WP Engine starts around $35 month. But this is where “you get what you pay for” becomes evident. What they include in this price is worth it: Free SSL/CDN, 3 Environments, 1 Click Migration, CDN, SSL, 1-Click, and Page Performance Tools.
It also scales with your business. So far not one single client that hosts with WP Engine has had their site go offline. Unless of course, I broke it. But that’s quickly fixed. 🙂