There are tons of hosting providers and each person has their personal preference as to who is the best out there. We have worked with all the “big name players” out there: GoDaddy, Host Monster, Host Gator, 1and1, Bluehost, DreamHost, Media Temple, SiteGround and many more. However, after testing all of these services, we have finally come to a conclusion that WPEngine is the best fit for our WordPress websites.
We were looking for a completely “managed WordPress environment” for our clients. What is a managed environment? Simply: all the technical aspects of hosting a website are 100% managed by your hosting provider. It’s like a concierge service for your website. They take care of your core WordPress updates, daily backups, server upgrades, scaling your website when necessary and giving you a staging environment that you can push to production with one click. All of this is done as a part of your managed environment. Let’s dive into each of these pieces.
Core WordPress Updates
One of the first things that happens after you get a new WordPress website is forgetting to do the core WordPress updates. All of them are free to download and install (as a matter of fact, they only take one click to accomplish), however it is very rarely done. With WPEngine they will auto-upgrade your website if they notice you haven’t done your core update after a certain number of days. This helps keep your website patched with all the newest security fixes. And before they do it, they will automatically back your website up in case of failure.
WPEngine automatically backs your website every day and keeps those backups around indefinitely. You also have the ability to do a manual backup of your site in case you’re making some changes you think might harm your site. Before you do any upgrading, WPEngine pops up a box that reminds you that before you process any upgrade (plugin, theme or core WordPress) to do a manual back to be safe in case anything breaks.
Server Upgrades + Scaling
Unless you have an IT staff, you probably don’t want to have to manage server patching, system upgrades and uptime guarantee for the server your website is hosted on. WPEngine takes care of all of that for you. Now, instead of having to hire an IT staff to manage all of those items, it is all taken care of behind-the-scenes for you.
Personally, this is one of my favorite features that WPEngine has to offer. Let’s say you have some sweeping changes you want to make to your website, however you don’t want to alter your live website because you need to test those changes. Normally, your only options are to hire some IT people to migrate your website over to another server, do all the edits you want and then migrate it back to your production server in the middle of the night.
With WPEngine’s staging website, one click from your production server gets you a fully-functioning staging site on it’s own separate domain name (that is not indexable by search engines) and is password protected. You can make all of your content, style, theme, plugin (etc) changes there and once you’re happy with it, you can click a single button and WPEngine will move the whole back to your production server within a few short minutes. Production deployments went from a very lengthy process to the epitome of simple.
Dedicated WordPress hosting is very important to us. We want a team of people who know WordPress inside and out – not just do it part time. They only host WordPress websites and because of that, everyone on their team has to know WordPress. Their staff is knowledgeable on how plugins interact with one another, common errors in log files, nuances of adding an SSL certificate to a website that has never had one and many more. They are a perfect compliment to your IT/marketing team.