A common problem website owners face is with the quality of their hosting provider:
- the website is either slow to load (even with many performance plugins), or…
- has frequent server “hiccups” (causing problems in the admin area or preventing visitors from loading the site).
An important factor in choosing a good hosting provider is price, and I know many people get a cheap hosting plan from their domain registrar. But that doesn’t always work out well.
For example, a large percentage of my past web-design clients (36% to be precise) used to be on GoDaddy, simply because that’s where they purchased the domain from. But the best domain registrars are not necessarily the best hosting providers. While GoDaddy is the most popular domain registrar, it’s often considered an average hosting provider).
As a personal recommendation, I’ve had the best experience by far with WP Engine (and I’ve tested 15-20 different hosting providers so far, including GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost and Dreamhost).
If you’re using a managed photo website solution like PhotoShelter, you probably don’t need external hosting. But if you do have a self-hosted website, you’re most likely considering or already using WordPress, for which WP Engine is the perfect fit.
OK, let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room: prices.
HostGator is around $5/month (an average cost for cheap shared hosting providers), a considerable difference from WP Engine’s $29/month price tag, and it’s sometimes hard to justify that difference. But I can tell you it’s surely worth it.
Maybe a good analogy would be to compare car manufacturers (without giving examples). Some people try to get the best possible offer for decent a quality car, while other people are willing to pay more for a quality car with excellent service & warranty. You can use both cars to drive around, the difference in quality and warranty only starts showing in the long run, or when problems arise.
I’m not sure which type of personality you are, but it’s my job to try to steer your towards quality products, so here’s what makes WP Engine good:
Backups: all daily, automatic and fast, they include all files, not just the database. You can always restore the site to an earlier day with 1 click! So if you ever break something on the site (and let’s also pessimistically assume I’m not around to help), you simply restore the site to a previous day: problem fixed, no more looking around in settings or error logs etc. You never need to use backup plugins anymore.
Performance: no performance plugins are needed either. In fact they don’t even allow such plugins because they’re worse than their native hardware performance features!
Security: nothing beats their security measures: they have multiple firewalls and do proactive malware scans. And if the site does ever get hacked, they fix everything for you asap, for free (!!)
Reliability: they have dedicated servers, so if a blog post gets viral or you get a spike of traffic, your site won’t go down.
Staging area: it’s basically a private copy of your site where you can do more layout/content experiments without affecting the live site, and migrate changes to the live site when ready in a few clicks.
This short video explains it further:
That last point (the “staging area” feature) is huge for me, and it’s what helps me run a stable website here at ForegroundWeb.
Whenever I need to make small tweaks to my site (testing out new blog posts, small CSS changes) or upgrade plugins (which can sometimes cause problems), I always test everything in my staging area. It’s like a private mirror of the entire site, for testing purposes.
When everything looks good, I simply migrate all changes to the live site, in one-click! Done.
No more site functionality problems due to faulty plugins or human error. Your website visitors are never affected by web-design experiments, plugin upgrades or design changes.
Overall, a quality hosting provider like WP Engine lets you sleep easier at night.
Let me share an recent experience with them (a specific example of how a great hosting service behaves). Upon publishing a recent article on the blog, top photographer Sue Bryce shared the link with her 150K+ fans on Facebook and her 100K+ followers on Twitter. Following that, the site received a big traffic spike for a few hours, with up to 339 people reading the article at the same time:
And let me mention that the article is huge, it’s 2.300 words in length and contains 19 large images (mostly website examples/screenshots for inspiration), so it was a lot of content to load at the same time.
In total, within 24 hours, 10.650 unique users have read the article.
My hosting provider WP Engine didn’t even blink.
And the server response times remained incredibly low (around 500ms, which is an important ranking factor for Google) regardless of the traffic:
Similarly, many successful site owners have understood that a fast and error-free website is important. That means working on site performance, investing in a quality hosting provider, checking and fixing any broken links, and regularly doing small experiments to further improve things (for which WP Engine’s staging area is a godsend).
So you can see why I’m pretty excited in recommending a hosting service like WP Engine. Once I switched to them, I never looked back!
Use this link to get 60 days free trial & 20% off the first payment:
Use code wpe20off to get the 20% discount. Yearly plans also get 2 months off, so you could pay just $232.00 for the full year. Your website will be in great hands, you won’t regret it.
This is my referral link and I do get a small discount with them (at no additional cost to you). I use WP Engine myself and I honestly recommend them for their top-quality service and support, and I’m confident you’ll have a great experience with them.