Things are changing a bit here on the site. I’ve changed the hosting of GetInTheSky.com and that have made a huge difference in how the website is performing. The speed and responsiveness of my site is just mindblowing. The website is loading 5 times faster without any changes to the code at all.
If you are anything like me, you properly use the web host that has the best offer around. Maybe not the cheapest but then again not the most expensive either. I’ve used a fairly decent amount of hosting through the years. Some good, some very bad. In most cases the quality of hosting really follows the pricing. I do emphasize “most cases”. There are decent hosting out there. Like UnoEuro, that is really cheap but still pretty reliable – 99.83% uptime – which is not bad for a product that costs 1 Euro per month. That statistic is better than most hosting I’ve experienced, in that price range.
Choosing a new home
I used to be fairly pleased with the speed of my website. I work with and around SharePoint on a daily basis, so a response time between 2.5 and 3 seconds did not sound all that bad for the price I paid. I was and stil are very satisfied with my previous hosting at UnoEuro.com.
Then I found out that if I am to take my website serious, I need to spend a few more dollars on it. That also means I need to bump up the speed. I read somewhere that google favors sites with better response times. I don’t know if that is really the case or just some blogger ranting. Anyway. I have the Need For Speed and thus, I began hunting down where I can get some really good hosting, outstanding support and access to some WordPress experts. I did not want to go with a VPS (Virtual Private Server). That would just be overkill, and too much maintenance on my part.
For gods sake Jim, I’m a SharePoint Specialist not a WordPress Guru. We are already using 115% on the Warp-engine. She can’t take it much longer!
So the choice came down to WP Engine (Affiliate link) or Synthesis. After researching the web for some time and considering my requirements for going forward, I really like the WPEngines staging setup. So WPEngine won and I am not regretting that one bit.
When it came to support, I got a response within 10-15 minutes after submitting a ticket. The support is just lightning fast and very professional. I really only have positive things to say about my experience with WPEngine. Actually, I’m so positive, that I’ve signed up as an affiliate. Something I’ve never done before. If you use my affiliate link for purchase, you will support me in the process and it won’t cost you anything extra. If you don’t that is just fine as well. I just want to share my brilliant experience with you and hopefully that will help you in deciding on which hosting you need for your own website.
Now lets talk speed
Speed is nothing if you don’t know where you are going and when to turn left or right. So when I was done, with my migration, the support picked up on a plugin that they suggested (not demanded) that I removed, due to its buggy code. I removed the plugin instantly, as I didn’t use it anyway.
How fast WordPress can run, if the right people are behind the wheel in the server-room.
As if this is not enough, Imagine my surprise when I logged in to my new WordPress home and found this extra menu option right inside my WordPress Admin menu.
From here I can create my staging environments and copy that back to PROD, if I wish. I can get access to WP Engine Support or get access to my WP Engine user portal, from where I can control pretty much all aspects of my hosting. Except for the DNS-hosting. That is not included and you need to host and administer your DNS, elsewhere. Some DNS is configurable through WP Engine though. But your primary A-record and CNAME-record, needs to be located somewhere else.
Ehh what stage?
If you are serious about your website, you are always developing on it. Okay, maybe not you personally, but someone on your team is. And that someone, needs a development site that is as similar as possible to the production site. WP Engine has created a phenomenal feature, that lets you create a complete copy of your site into a staging environment. Then you can develop all you want, try new themes, play around with your site and so on. And when you are happy. Just go-live with your edits and changes, by pushing a single button. That is really a gamechanger for me. That means, no more local install of web servers and local WordPress installs. I can just keep it all, right on WP Engine.
Backing up WordPress
When it comes to backing up the site, I’ve previously relied on Google Drive for WordPress (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-google-drive/). That is just one more plugin I don’t need. WPEngine does daily backups of the site and I don’t have to activate, update or in any way think about that. That just saved me some space on my Google Drive as well on my WP-Install, as the backup is still hosted on the site, and only copied to the Google Drive.
So lets get to it. The hard and unavoidable ever-present factor of any decision you make. Pricing! And while WPEngine is not one of the cheapest services in the market, considering what you get for your buck, they are still really cheap. If you pay for a full year on sign-up, you will get 2 months for free! That means that in the end I end up paying $ 290,- for one year of hosting. For a hobbyist web-site, that may sound a bit too much. But for a professional website for someone who’s dependant on the visits on that website, It’s really a cheap way to host a website. For more on pricing and features, take a look at their website and decide which WP Engine plan is right for you!