When you build websites for a living, being asked about hosting providers comes with the territory. How should I select hosting? Do you have any recommendations? Why on earth would I pay more when I can get hosting for $3 a month?
The marketing gurus say if you keep encountering the same question from your clients, it’s a good idea to turn it into a blog post. So, without further ado: Why I recommend WPEngine.
Full disclosure: You can click on this affiliate link if you want to buy a WPEngine hosting plan. I’ll get a very small commission, but that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.
It’s built especially for WordPress, and it shows (both with speed and security).
The whole freakin’ thing was built for WordPress, period. They’ve optimized to the max and offer automatic, aggressive caching so you don’t need to worry about managing your own caching plugins. What does that mean? Blazing fast speed. The difference is real. And we all know that makes a difference with the big G and other search engines. It also means reliable security. They’re better than the other guys and if you get hacked, they’ll bend over backwards to make things right.
WPEngine rocks our world when it comes to product design that solves real developer pain points — just check out these features!
There are plenty of features we love, and you should too (even if all it means is that your developer is less cranky — we can all get behind that). As a webbie with a background primarily in UX and product design, I so appreciate how the folks at WPEngine have tackled real developer and client pain points and devised intuitive, dead simple (but brilliant) fixes. A few of our favorites (more found in this white paper):
Daily backups – Yes, there are free ways to achieve this on Dirt Cheap Hosting. You can install the Backup to Dropbox plugin, and it’s a real pain in the butt. On WPEngine, you don’t have to do a thing — and you can sleep at night knowing your site is being backed up every morning. Then, with one click of the mouse, you can restore any backup in minutes (vs. hours with the alternative). Magic!
One click staging setups – Once your site goes live, you’re going to want a way to test things without the rest of the world seeing them (both content and code changes). The one-click staging environment setup changed my life (sidenote: how they spin up a staging environment so quickly, I’ll never understand). Then, when everything is Goldilocks-approved on staging (“juuust right”), you can push the other way: transfer either just your code or all your data from staging to live with a single additional click. Hot damn!
Transfer to client feature – We’re lucky and grateful to be included in the WPEngine Developer Program, so we’ve got a sweet setup in which we can build a site on our own server and transfer it to a client’s hosting with (literally) one click of the mouse. (Do we see a pattern here?) A process that used to take us a minimum of 30 minutes (often hours if things don’t go as planned … which they nearly never do) has been reduced to about five seconds.
Managed hosting != cheapo hosting.
It’s true that WPEngine isn’t the cheapest hosting option, but to us, it feels like asking why you would eat at that Michelin star restaurant when McDonald’s is offering 99 cent burgers down the street. It’s just not the same, friends.
At Studio Simpatico, we like to focus on what we do best: product design and website development. For the non-webbies, it’s important to understand that development is a very different beast from hosting and tech ops. Just because I can write cross-browser friendly, responsive HTML and CSS in my sleep doesn’t mean I won’t awkwardly hem and haw if you ask me to explain how a CDN works.
We have many clients who are tech companies that have their own hosting. However, dealing with an unknown environment not optimized for WordPress, and a tech ops team that understandably doesn’t know the tweaks that need to be made to an environment to support WordPress, creates headaches for everyone involved — for me, trying to debug why things aren’t working the way they should (more or less shooting in the dark), and their IT department, having to deal with annoying requests.
Which brings me to …
Three cheers for legitimately supportive support.
WPEngine eliminates all of these headaches. It’s what we call managed WordPress hosting, which means their support folks (available via instant live chat, all based out of Austin) don’t just fit the bill for what I described above — they’re ridiculously knowledgeable about WordPress and all the 1,489,299 things that can go wrong, and help is always just a quick chat or phone call away. Nearly every site I’ve built that involves advanced or complex functionality has involved my needing to contact WPEngine support for a few tweaks, and the WPEngine team saves the day every time (not to mention they’re consistent with the company’s culture — approachable, friendly, helpful). Honestly, WPEngine may be the only live chat in the history of the internet with representatives that I can talk super techy with, and even crack a few jokes. (“Why did the developer go broke? Because he used up all his cache. Yuk yuk yuk!”)
Consequently, their awesomeness ends up saving our clients money.
All of the features and expertise saves developer time, plain ‘n’ simple. Everything I’ve been talking about means we’re not spending our hours migrating data, debugging elusive hosting problems, attempting to configure annoying caching plugins, or numerous other manual, laborious tasks. And pssst: If your developers are saving time, that means you’re saving money. Even though WPEngine might technically be more per month than your cheapo hosting, add one measly hour of a developer’s time and you’ve quickly offset that “savings.”
We just like them. As a company — and, you know, as people.
At Studio Simpatico, we believe our clients like working with us for reasons that extend beyond our technical and design capabilities. If your number one priority is saving money, we’re probably not the right fit. But if you’re looking for a group that takes pride in being collaborative, creative, honest, and … well … nice, we might just be the Droids you’re looking for.
We feel the same way about the folks at WPEngine. We deeply respect the care and thought they’ve put into their products, as well as their commitment to the WordPress community and company culture. (Haven’t been to a WordCamp yet in which I haven’t walked away with some fancy WPEngine schwag.) They’ve even been so generous as to send business our way — a gesture for which we are humbled and grateful. (Shoutout to Level Design!)
For these reasons and many more, we enthusiastically support and recommend WPEngine. And we’re not the only ones — for further reading, check out some more glowing endorsements below: