I just wanted to put a few of my thoughts together about our experience with WPEngine over that time period (before I get round to writing up a full review of WPEngine).
Why move our priority sites?
A few months ago one of our WordPress sites got hacked, and quite badly hacked at that, so it was discussed and a decision taken that to help clean up that site and prevent future hacks we wanted a specialist WordPress hosting provider. Our other existing hosting provider is Tsohost, and they do an absolutely fantastic job, but their support doesn’t cover helping to find the route cause of the hack and clean up the install. Nor does it provide any guarantees to fix any future hacks. So, a specialist and managed WP host was needed for those exact reasons.
Thinking back as we looked at all the alternatives I remember that it was WPEngine that jumped out as filling all those gaps. Along with all the generic managed hosting benefits, the big persuading factors for us were: a London based host and built-in CDN; the promise of superfast websites; Sucuri level support for hacked sites; and (sorry about my French) but the offer was to manage all the caching, CDN, SSL etc, as previously this had been a lot of fucking about in getting the settings aligned for a separate caching plugin, a separate CDN, and a separate setup for the SSL.
What about WPEngine support?
Support, if it isn’t your first concern when it comes to your WordPress sites or any sites for that matter, then it should be. Support is pretty much paramount to running a successful online setup. Tsohost, set the bar extremely high for our support needs and they were on the ball and replied super fast. Like they were just waiting to help, which was great, but meant that the guys and girls at WPEngine had a lot to live up to. Now WPEngine support in a few words is ‘amazing but not quite lightning fast as Tsohost’. I don’t mean to be harsh with that as I mean the complete opposite. WPEngine’s support is extremely good and effective. The best way I can put it is that Tsohost holds the world record for the 100m sprint while WPEngine just won gold at the Olympics. I’d put the speed factor down to being US based which means that when I’m working, their sleeping. It’s not a massive issue and we have that arrangement with a lot of service providers. Oh and by support, I just mean the support ticket function. Never rang Tsohost or WPEngine but assuming that it would be quicker to get a reply.
Top marks for WPEngine when it comes to providing support.
What about WPEngine pricing?
I guess that this is the crunch issue for most people. The poundnotes in your pocket are the biggest factor in making most decisions and when it comes to business, rightly so. WPEngine isn’t cheap. If you want the cheapest of the cheap web hosting then you can find that sort of product from many of the big names in the hosting industry. The problem is that in this world on the most part you pay for what you get. You pay little, you get little.
WPEngine offer a Personal plan at $29 per month, but I don’t think it’s worth getting that compared to other alternatives. The best value plan for most are the Professional ($99 per month) and the Business ($249 per month).
We currently use the Professional plan but are nearing the upper limit of the plan’s allowances so we will be moving over to the Business plan. However, the difference is scalability rather than any extra features that are worth noting.
So as you can see $99 per month, so around £60 per month, isn’t cheap. But, hand on heart it is worth it.
What’s so good about WPEngine?
I said it’s worth it and let me sum up why I think that. Running a business or doing web stuff as a hobby then you will know that time is limited and deadlines are always looming. WPEngine for us takes away all of the issues with setting up a new WordPress install. As I said before, with the built-in CDN, etc, it really does save a lot of time. Time which can be spent directly on the projects for our clients or on our own projects which means that we can squeeze every last ounce of value.
Performance is crucial. We expect our projects to perform. To perform well for the end user and to perform well for search engines. With WPEngine we know that our WordPress installs perform every day.
Peace of mind. The last of my thoughts on WPEngine is about peace of mind. Here at Pecking Order Digital our ethos is all about no-nonsense, and with that we don’t like the dramas of being hacked, of slow installs, etc. We just want peace of mind that we know it just works, and it does.
Will we move all our WordPress installs to WPEngine?
The short answer is no. I think WPEngine is great but not every WP needs the level of service offered by WPEngine. In some circumstances, it will be a little bit of overkill. As I said above, we will phase to WPEngine for all priority (mission critical) sites but will continue with Tsohost for all other sites.
That’s a few of my initial thoughts on WPEngine. I hope to get round to writing our full WPEngine review soon with a special little something extra for newbies to WPEngine. If you are interested in trying out WPEngine or already do use it then let us know what you think below.