Here at Decisive Design, we have worked with many hosting providers (google “web hosting” and that’s our list!). When deciding on what hosting provider to use, sometimes we don’t have a choice. Whether that is due to a client already having a contract with a specific hosting provider, or various other reasons. When we do get to choose, we highly recommend WP Engine for any and all WordPress sites. Over the past few years, we have transitioned most of our clients to use WP Engine. Their solutions to common WordPress development woes have saved us countless hours of development time. Our clients also love how they automate many of the tedious tasks for them. This lets our clients focus more on growing their business, rather than their website.
I won’t go into detail on every WP Engine feature, just a few that have been the “selling points” for us and our clients. These features really stand out from the rest of the web host pack.
- Daily Backups
- Staging Sites
- Caching and CDN
- SSL Installationy
- Site Migrations
- Transferable Developer Installs
- Automated WordPress Core Updates
- Security & Malware Scanning
This is an amazing feature, although most hosting providers have some sort of backup solution, no one does it quite as well as WP Engine. You can quickly and easily create a backup before a major push or update, as well as quickly revert your site if anything has gone awry. Plus, they backup once daily for you, which your developers will love. That new plugin update that seemed to work flawlessly but now has your site crippled? Quickly revert to moments before the update, like nothing ever happened.
We have never quite seen a staging setup for WordPress like WP Engine, and I love it. WP Engine integrates this into your WordPress backend. So you can simply log into your WordPress site and with one click have a copy of your live site available in a staging area, ready for you to hack it into oblivion. With a simple 5 minute chat with one of their support staff, we were able to get SSL enabled on our staging site to test features needing SSL support. You also have the ability to move files only, or database tables back to live. This is very helpful on sites with ecommerce features, when you just want to test design features on staging, then push them to live without overwriting your customer’s data in the database.
Caching and CDN
Again, quite a few hosts have these features, but no one does it quite like WP Engine. The UI and integration into your WordPress sites are fantastic. I can easily see my settings from inside my WordPress backend and click a link that redirects me to the settings on the corresponding WP Engine admin page.
SSL Made Easy
Need an SSL? (Tip: You do.) WPEngine makes it affordable and easy to get setup. With a simple and efficient settings page, we can purchase a certificate and have it installed within minutes. (As of this article date, pricing was as follows: Standard SSL certificates = $49 per year and Wildcard SSL certificates = $199 per year )
Migrating a website can cause quite a few headaches depending on the setup. With WPEngine simply set up their migration plugin, and it takes care of the rest. Although We have yet to use this on a very complex project, it seems to do the job perfectly on content based sites without a lot of complex backend stuff going on.
Transferable Developer Installs
Installs make it very easy to create a WordPress install on WPEngine, develop the site, and then transfer the website to your client’s WP Engine account once finished. This feature allows you to mock-up or begin a site on their hosting platform and transfer it to your client’s account once completed. This works well for freelancers, they can develop the site, get paid and transfer the website once payment has arrived.
Automated WordPress Core Updates
WP Engine offers what they call automatic WordPress core updates. What this means is they will backup your site, update your WordPress core, run additional tests and checks to make sure everything is functional, then notify you when it is complete. If the update goes awry, they will revert your site back to moments before the update process began. This saves us countless hours each time a new version of WordPress is released. Combined with their staging sites, we can test new updates with WordPress core and plugins in minutes instead of wasting time with manual backups of files and databases.
Security & Malware Scanning
WP Engine takes a proactive approach to preventing and removing any malware on your site. If their system detects any malware, they remove it immediately and notify you via email. Although personally we have never used this feature, it helps us sleep at night knowing our clients’ sites are safe. They also contract world-renown security firm Sucuri for penetration testing and analysis.
I hope this article has shed some light into some of WP Engine’s features that can make your WordPress hosting a little easier. They have helped us save many of hours of development time, a savings we pass onto our clients. If you are interested in finding out more about their infrastructure, you can read all about it here