I have been doing WordPress development coming up on 9 years and the biggest obstacle I have found has been the disconnect between development and hosting. I am fully aware the cost to host a WordPress site can be as little as $1- $3 a month. You get what you pay for. A WordPress site hosted on WPEngine runs faster, is well supported and creates almost a worry free environment for the developer. The biggest obstacle in getting a client to switch over will be the cost. WPEngine is not your $2 a month shared hosting package. I will outline why I believe the value outweighs the cost.
Why Pay $35 a Month for Hosting?
The cost for a single domain is around $35 / month (a bit less if you pay for the year in advance). This does not include the cost for the domain as well as any “free emails”. An agency / web development company can get the cost per website to between $10 – $17 with one of the scaled plans. In many cases this is asking the client or end client to pay an extra 20 minutes of month at most web & marketing agencies billable rates.
Free SSL Included
I am a web developer with a background in programing. This does not make me an expert in every hosting configuration on the planet. Setting up SSL should not be a science project. With WPEngine setting up SSL is a few clicks away and is included as part of the cost of the hosting package. WPEngine support is always willing to help out if any issues come up.
Free CDN Included
A CDN in simplified terms is a way is a content delivery system to speed up the way a website is delivered to a user. The content is served based on the geographic location of the user. WPEngine makes setting this up as an easy option within the site settings and is included as part of the hosting plan.
Development, Staging and Production Model
It takes a bit of more diligence, but doing on edits on a staging server and then pushing the edits into production makes for a cleaner and safer process. Development under this model decreases the likelihood of an edit breaking the website. WPEngine has made pushing edits from staging / development back to production as seamless as possible. This is a task that does not required a technical background. I have included a video I made to demonstrate the process below.
Reverting from a Backup
The thing I dislike the most about web development is the element of panicking when a website is broken outside of a time where I can jump in and address the issue(s) immediately. WPEngine’s backup and recovery system makes this a “non-technical” task. You are able to pick from numerous automatically generated backups as well as user created checkpoints that can be created from at will. I have included a YouTube Video demonstrating how easy it is to revert from a backup as seen below.
Support that matters
Almost every hosting company provides support. The catch is many times that support is saying “ask your developer, this not a hosting issue”. This creates a “he said, she said” environment that places the blame back and forth. The difference with WPEngine support is that they will work to resolve the issue. The level of support provided by WPEngine alone justifies the added cost.
I have found a website running on WPEngine are faster and will get better Google test results “out of the box”. Many of the caching plugins that are required to obtain the same scores are not even allowed on WPEngine. WPEngine has it’s own caching system specially designed for WordPress.
Ease of Migration
The WP Engine Automated Migration plugin makes the migration process very simple. The larger websites that have historically not worked with some of the other WordPress migration plugins, have worked seamless with the WPEngine plugin. If the website development is done on a “development” or “staging” environments within WPEngine , this process is even more simplified.
Overall Peace of Mind
I want to be able exist in a world that when a website “breaks” and I am on the latest version of my iPhone (not in front of my computer) , there is no “panic factor”. I have clients that are running $1000’s in paid ads and a broken website could mean a very expensive bill and / or large loss of revenue. The migration / backup tool and the level of support I get from WPEngine, provides me this “peace of mind”.
What WPEngine Does Not Provide
WPEngine does not host email and domains. I find that the emails services provided by most hosting companies are not that reliable. In many cases they are being white labeled from other providers. My default recommendations would be Godaddy for domains and G Suite (Google) for email. Godaddy has always been reliable when it comes to the management of domains. With the numbers of tools within the G Suite, I find it hard to imagine another all in one email / business solution.