5 Reasons I Moved Hosting to WPengine in 2014
In January 2014, I moved The Smart Income Detective Blog from my shared hosting plan at Bluehost, to a much more customized plan at WPengine.
If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that I have nothing but good things to say about BlueHost. In fact, I like them so much that I recommend them numerous times throughout the blog. Bluehost are an excellent choice for those on a budget, who want shared hosting at an affordable cost at the start of their journey.
I still recommend BlueHost. I can do this quite confidently, because all of my other sites are still with Bluehost on shared hosting that I paid $180 for 3 years worth of hosting. It is only this blog that I have moved to WPengine.
So why have I only moved this blog?
Simple really. I have a 3 year and 5 year plan for where I want this blog to be in these time periods. Moving to WPengine has always been in that plan.
The fact that I am nearly ready to release my first podcast (well, summer 2014) was also a big factor. If, and that is one almighty big if, if the podcast does take off in the way I hope, then I need the infrastructure in place to keep up with an increased number of visitors.
I have 5 other reasons why I moved my hosting to WPengine too. Here they are.
Their hosting is dedicated to hosting WordPress sites, and WordPress sites ONLY. Period. This gives me a great deal of confidence because I want my site in the hands of those who know WordPress inside out.
And they do appear to know it inside out. As you will see further on down this post, the one problem I have had so far was fixed quickly, correctly and without fuss.
Security. As the blog grows, so do the hacking attempts. WPengine promise to automatically scan, fix and and secure your site. And if I do get hacked, they promise to fix it at no extra cost.
I have been hacked before. Malicious code was somehow added to one of my sites, and I had to pay a freelancer to come in and sort the problem out. This is NOT an experience I want to repeat.
Backups. WPengine automatically backs my site up every single day, and with a click of a button, I can restore it to a previous version. It also means I don’t have to purchase any backup plugins.
I can also make backups quickly and easily myself – it takes just one click of a button. And when I make any changes to the blog (like install a new plugin), I am asked if I would like to make a backup of the site before I install and activate it.
Speed. WPengine promise that your site speed and performance is ‘the fastest WordPress hosting around’. Which is owed hugely to their hand tuned hosting architecture. I can safely say that the blogs performance has improved dramatically.
Take a look at this screenshot from Pingdom:
No More Cache. Absolutely no cacheing plugins required, as WPengine have an inbuilt system called EverCache that delivers my content super fast.
OK. So I know I said 5 reasons. But I forgot about this one.
The ‘Staging Area’. This is an amazing tool – and came in very handy whilst changing the theme for the blog in February 2014.
In simple terms, it gives you the ability to copy your entire site to a ‘practice’ area. In this practice area, you can tinker as much as you like – without it affecting your live site.
To update the theme, all I did was copy my live site to the staging area. My site still displayed normally on the normal domain, but I was given a temporary domain where I could make changes to the site – without it affecting the normal site on the normal domain.
Once I had installed the new theme on the temporary domain, and configured it to how I wanted it, I then pressed another button – this then changed this ‘practice’ site into the live site. So to complete the whole task, I only had two buttons to press:
I cannot compliment this feature enough. And I am sure I will be using it many more times when I want to trial and test new features on the blog.
CHOOSING MY PLAN
WPengine have 3 main plans available.
I chose the single site ‘personal’ option, which allows one WordPress installation for $29 a month. This will cost me $348 over the year, although the income I am seeing from the blog will more than cover this.
I am a keen believer in reinvestment of income. Especially at this stage of the blogs life. The majority of the income from this blog is reinvested, and for me, it is the only way to do business.
The next level up is $99 for 10 sites. In another year, I will review my whole internet business and see if this would be a viable step. I have more than 10 sites at the minute, with only about 4 of those making me a good income, so this is a decision I will have to look at when 2015 rolls around.
You can see WPengine’s pricing plans – including their very special offer for new customers here.
I don’t find migration fun at all. I have done it before, and I will more than likely do it again.
But this time, I decided to hire somebody to do it for me.
WPengine have a ‘recommended’ migration partner who they link to and recommend if you want an existing WordPress site migrated from another host. This was my first port of call. Unfortunately, I quickly back tracked and decided not to go with their recommended partner.
While I have no doubt in my mind that they would have done a sterling job, I didn’t go with them for one reason, and one reason alone;
They wanted $200 to do it.
That’s pretty overpriced in my opinion. In fact, scrub that.
That is grossly overpriced.
Unless you have money to burn, I do not recommend the migration service – $200 is simply too much for what is actually quite a simple and straightforward job – especially considering WPengine provide a comprehensive DIY step-by-step guide available under the documentation section of their site.
So I decided to take a look at my options.
My options included following the instructions that WPengine provide for Do-It-Yourself migrations, or hire a freelancer.
I have hired freelancers on quite a number of occasions now, so I went to my favourite and most trusted freelance site Elance to get the job sorted.
I placed an advert on Elance, asking for somebody with website migration skills to do the work for me. I had 12 replies, and most were between the $20-$50 mark. I chose a suitably qualified freelancer who charged me $30, and he completed the job within 24 hours – saving me $170 in the process.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT EXPERIENCE
At 31 years of age, I am old enough to know that not everything in life is straightforward and simple.
And that remained true with my move to WPengine.
When the site was moved across, I found that I could not login to my WordPress admin dashboard. This was pretty frustrating, as I thought the freelancer I hired from Elance hadn’t migrated the site across correctly.
Instead of going back to my hired help, I thought I would test out the superior support system – after all, they say on their site that they are ‘experts’ in their field. I fired across a support ticket, then started work on something else until the problem was sorted.
I didn’t get far working on something else though.
Because their support responded in 9 minutes.
What made it even more incredible was the fact that it was a Sunday. And it confirmed that I had made the right choice in choosing WPengine over some of the other providers I was looking at.
Take a look at my Twitter message here:
Granted, the support ticket was probably an easy fix on WPengine’s end, but nevertheless, I was seriously impressed.
FIAT PUNTO VS AUDI A3 S-LINE
When I first got my driving licence, my very first car was a white Fiat Punto 55s, similar to this one:
It cost £600. It was pretty beat up, with high miles on it. It handled like a tank, going around corners was like being on a roller coaster, and the engine sounded like a Boeing 747 but with the power of an electric hairdryer. Hell, it didn’t even have a CD player.
I got it because it was the cheapest car to buy and run, with the cheapest insurance for a newly qualified driver (a years insurance still cost more than the cost of the car though!). I didn’t really want it, and I admit – I didn’t really look after it.
I never once washed it, vacuumed it, checked the oil or maintained it in any way, shape or form.
It was probably just as well I ended up putting it into the back of a truck after 12 months. Thankfully, nobody was injured. The truck didn’t have a mark on it, but the front of the car was damaged beyond repair. And it was good riddance to the worst car I have ever driven.
Fast forward 10 years to present day, and I have an Audi A3 S-Line Turbo Diesel, like the one below:
It cost £22,000. It had 3,000 miles on it when I purchased it, it has every conceivable gadget known to man included, and looks absolutely stunning (especially when those LED daylight running lights are on).
Now here’s the difference. I never stop cleaning it. I never stop polishing it. I never stop vacuuming it. I am always checking that it is running correctly and always make sure things like the oil is topped up, and the tyre pressures are correct.
Hold on Richard, why the hell are you telling us all this?
Notice the price differences? My first car cost me £600, and the car I drive right now cost me £22,000.
I didn’t really care about my first car. But I care about my second car. A lot.
And this is partly down to the costs involved. It’s a well known fact that the higher the price of something, the higher we value it.
When I released my eBay video course two years ago, I gave previous customers of my eBook FREE access to the video course. At the time, I had about 330 customers, and I sent them all an email with a username and password.
Do you know how many people bothered logging in?
54 customers out of 330. I was both astounded and pretty damn annoyed. I was annoyed because I had to individually add each customer as a subscriber in the back end of WordPress to allow them access. It took me HOURS.
A few days later, my course went on general sale for £67 ($107). And you know what happened? Every single customer logged in to their account to access the course. Not only that, but the average amount of logins each customer made was 8 logins each.
So here is the moral of that story, and the car story:
The cheaper something is, the less perceived value it has. The less perceived value it has, the less one cares.
Take a look at how I see it in this chart to the left. The higher the cost, the greater the amount of care there is.
With something free or low cost, people tend to care a lot less. When something is priced higher, people tend to care a lot more.
And this is the same with my decision to go with WPengine. Because I am paying a far higher price compared to my old hosting, the stakes have just shot up dramatically.
Not that I am saying that I didn’t care before – I did.
But now, it has gone to another level altogether.
And with the stakes increasing considerably, I am totally fired up about the blog, and what I believe I can achieve with has gone up ten-fold. It has given me additional passion, additional energy and that additional belief that I hope drives the blog forward into its second year.
SHOULD YOU CHOOSE WPENGINE AS YOUR HOST?
So, do I recommend WPengine to everyone?
It would be remiss of me to simply recommend WPengine to every single person reading this, because in truth, not everyone is suited to this sort of hosting – not yet anyway.
I don’t recommend WPengine to the following people:
- New bloggers
- Bloggers who have yet seen an income from their blog
I don’t recommend it to these two groups of people for the simple reason being that it costs too much. If you have the budget, fair enough. But I know for most people, money is tight. And laying out $29 a month is simply a step too far for most.
And that is why I still recommend Bluehost for those of you who fall into this category. This will cost you $83.40 paid up front for 12 months worth of standard hosting – and it includes a free domain name. Remember, I still use Bluehost for all my other sites.
And if you are looking to get hosting, but don’t quite have enough money to pay for it yet, you should check out my free mini report right here – I can guarantee you will have the cost of hosting in your Paypal account before you know it.
But I recommend WPengine to the following groups of people:
- Bloggers who have had a site up for a minimum of 12 months
- Bloggers who have seen at least 10k visitors over the last 12 months
- Bloggers who just want to take the next step, and take advantage of all the features seen here
Of course, all of the above is just my opinion. It’s a personal decision that only you can make. I have provided links to both hosts below. If you are currently on shared hosting with someone like Bluehost, then take a look at what WPengine can offer.
And similarly, if you are just starting out, take a look at what Bluehost can offer – not forgetting of course, my free tutorial on how to set up your hosting and WordPress site with Bluehost.
I hope you found this post useful. If you did, drop me a comment below and tell me how you chose your current hosting provider.
If you didn’t find it useful, drop me a comment below and tell me why you didn’t find it useful, or how I could of improved it.
Until next time then, have a great day!
All the best,