WPEngine Review: Why We Switched To WordPress Hosting

WPEngine review 2014
In this WPEngine review we’re talking about website hosting recommendations, and why we switched hosts!

When you run a business that relies on your website’s uptime, it’s important to have a fast, reliable website host. I still remember a few years ago when I had a personal website back in college, and my hosting company’s servers got struck by lightning. Luckily I had a backup of my website on my local computer!

But today there are way safer and better website hosts to choose from, and they all come with their own pros and cons.
Learn why we decided to switch to WPEngine hosting for our WordPress website. #websites #webhosting #onlinebusiness

Why We Recently Changed Hosts & Quick WPEngine Review

We’ll look at what characteristics you should look for in a website host, but first I want to talk about why we recently changed hosts.

I’ve been on many different website hosts over the years, and for the most part they were fine. I could add content, people could see it. End of story. But as I started to offer paid programs inside a members only area, our website needed to be both secure and able to handle more traffic too.

What ended up happening is that the dedicated host that we were using would go down on a regular basis, almost every day usually during the night when I was asleep. I’d wake up to find that my hosting company found suspicious login attempts, and decided to block all future login attempts, locking out all of our customers from accessing the programs they had paid for.

It was becoming really frustrating to wake up to a locked website, and complaints from customers. And my hosting company couldn’t come up with a better solution, they just said that my site was getting attacked by denial of service attacks.

I knew there had to be a better way. I tried all the WordPress plugins I could find, but at the end of the day I knew that the host was to blame.

That’s when we switched to WPEngine. Ever since making the switch, our site’s speed has increased by a few seconds per page, we haven’t had any downtime, and the “attacks” are no longer an issue.

Now I understand that moving hosts is quite an undertaking. So I don’t say it lightly that if you’re experiencing hacks, malware, or any kind of funky behavior on your website and you have some strong passwords and good WordPress security plugins installed, then it’s probably your host’s unfavorable environment causing the problems.

What To Look For in WordPress Website Hosting

1. WordPress Hosting

Because all of our websites are hosted on WordPress, I knew that by choosing a host who specializes in WordPress we’d be dealing with professionals. Instead of trying to be the generalist, a hosting company like WPEngine does only WordPress websites, not email hosting or a bunch of other services.

This also means that their customer support team knows the ins and outs of WordPress, and they won’t use solutions that break our WordPress sites. If that isn’t music to your business owner ears, I don’t know what is.

2. Security

This is a big one, because most of us compare hosting companies by price, and I feel like that’s the wrong way to look at hosting.

I’m just as cost-conscious as the next person, but I know that if I rent an apartment in the bad part of town I will save money but I might have my home broken into. That’s not going to save me any money in the long run, and living in fear of getting attacked in my own neighborhood isn’t worth it either.

Now of course, I understand that if the budget doesn’t permit it you should go with an affordable option like Bluehost, but if your business is growing, and you’re experiencing growing pains then it might be time for a move.

3. Our Members Only Area

WPengine Review

If you sell digital products online and you host these inside a members only area, it’s important for your host to be able to handle the high volume of login attempts. This was the big one for us, and what ultimately made us switch.

These days we’re hosting over 20,000 members inside our AccessAlly members area, so the site needs to be able to handle a lot of logins, a lot of downloads, and plenty of browsing.

4. WPEngine Review For Speed & Search Engines

Finally, how fast your website loads is directly correlated to your rank in the search engines, if you’re putting even a little bit of effort into optimizing your site for SEO.

As you get more traffic, most shared hosting accounts tend to slow down. And sometimes even when you upgrade to dedicated hosting, your host might run out of memory when there are too many users accessing your site at once.

So the solution is to look for a host that specifically scales and can handle the load. One way to ensure this is to look for a Content Distribution Network (or CDN) which copies your website’s files to other servers, so that the load is distributed across different hosts and not just your main one.

WPEngine has this option built-in, as do other high end hosting providers.

So, this is my story on why we decided to change hosting accounts. I hope that you learned a little bit about how website hosting works, and that you’ll feel empowered to make a good hosting choice as your business continues to grow and expand!

Got Any Hosting Recommendations Of Your Own?

Leave a comment below with your own WPEngine review or another WordPress hosting solution you use and love!

 

29 Responses to WPEngine Review: Why We Switched To WordPress Hosting

  1. Nathalie, glad to hear you’re on WPEngine! I’ve been with them for a couple years now and find myself talking about them and moving people to them more and more. I agree with your host breakdown. Sadly, many users don’t even know what they don’t know, and your points aren’t often ones advertised.

    I did over 50 host migrations last year for my users, people mostly moving away from GoDaddy, or upgrading from BlueHost or Hostgator to something more robust, like WP Engine! I even ended up building a stand alone service for the migration process, so this definitely speaks to people’s needs out there building their business.

    • Awesome Robert! I totally agree that most people don’t talk about these issues, and I’ve had a few colleagues reach out to me when they were experiencing similar hosting issues… like you said: most of these things aren’t advertised or talked about. I’m happy you’re helping people migrate to great hosting options! :)

  2. AWESOME recommendation! I have been having such growing pains lately with my hosting provider and was wondering if I should begin switching over to a different provider. This post was literally PEFECT timing! Thanks for the information. I now feel confident in making the switch.

    • Yay Connie! So happy to hear that – it’s crazy how we can feel alone with these tech problems sometimes, but I’m happy this came at the right time and you’ll be making the switch, too. :)

  3. When I first launched my website, I didn’t really understand…well, anything ha…but after having my site hacked twice, I quickly learned! However, I felt that my host wasn’t always very sensitive to the fact that I wasn’t necessarily familiar with all the terminology (something I was very upfront with them about) and felt very awkward. I was already very upset for obvious reasons and it just made the whole experience so stressful (I literally had an anxiety attack the first time my site was hacked:-) I now feel more confident and have gained lots of knowledge on the topic but sometimes wonder if perhaps I should go to another host. How difficult is it to switch between one and the other without having your site disrupted?

    • Ahh I hear you Michelle! It’s easy for hosting companies to talk over your head because they don’t know how to communicate with human beings sometimes ;). As for moving hosts, it’s actually not that bad – there are some great tools depending on your host – and some hosts offer moving options too. There isn’t usually a disruption if you move your files first, and then re-point your domain to the new host. Good luck!

  4. I’m totally not at this stage yet, but it’s definitely good to keep in mind. Much like Michelle, I had no idea when launching my site and your content is helping me become aware of what challenges I might deal with or might even deflect. Awesome post!

    • Absolutely Catherine! It’s great to know what to look for so you can recognize when you’ll want to make hosting changes down the line. :) Happy you enjoyed it!

  5. Thanks for this Natalie,
    I only just realised that my widgets have been disabled or remove from my site so have no sign up optin page. I am defintely thinking of moving hosts shortly.

  6. Hi

    I’m thinking about moving my hosting. Sometimes its expensive.
    They mentioned if the site is ‘locked’. Trying to see if mine are, or not. I’m not understanding totally.
    If it IS locked…Is it easy to have ‘unlocked’?
    Wonderful that I can ask you . great timing.

    • Hi Natalie,

      I’m a new reader here and found your blog through the video review you did on YouTube.

      I’ve hosted with around 10 other hosts in the past and moved each time either because their servers weren’t as fast as they stated or their prices increased if you had a hosting plan and wanted to upgrade it.

      I’ve been looking at WPEngine and Media Temple for a while. However, as WPEngine are dedicated to only WordPress hosting, I think I know where I’m moving next.

      Thanks for the insight!

  7. Hi Nathalie – I love your tips and this is really helpful. I’m a new subscriber. I hate to leave a “negative” comment but I just wanted to let you know – in case others feel the same way- the way your videos hop around every time you start a new thought or sentence is really distracting. The videos are short so it’s not like people will get bored just watching and listening for a couple minutes. I actually don’t watch the screen when I play the videos anymore because I can’t seem to concentrate on all the great tips while anticipating the next jump around. Just wanted to let you know in case it helps I don’t mean to be annoying :) <3

  8. Hi Nathalie!

    We like to recommend AsmallOrange, we really like their VPS cloud hosting with super fast SSD drives. I found that wp-engine is really frustrating for developers as they don’t give you full control (and as a developer I want full control), plus if you have more than 1 site the bill rises quickly. We’re on ASO with a $50/month plan and don’t mind the price because it gives us all the flexibility we want :)
    I don’t recommend shared hosting anymore because I don’t want people to come back to me with their problems and telling me you recommended it :) so it’s A Small Orange for us all the day :)
    I have only heard good things about wp-engine, the lack of control is what we don’t like.
    Nathalie

  9. Hello Nathalie … I am actually looking into the best wordpress hosting as well. I was also looking at synthesis hosting, I was wondering if you have any input on them as well ? I need to make a decision soon, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank so much for all that you do, keep up the good work !!!
    All the best, Joe

    • I haven’t used Synthesis myself, but the fact that it’s WordPress specific tells me that it’s a good choice (that and the Copyblogger Media folks are awesome). We were considering them alongside WP Engine, but we went with WP Engine because we had many sites to host and we use WordPress Multisite. :)

  10. Thank you so much Nathalie!
    I was in the midst of searching for a new host and your post arrived in the midst of my frustration and confusion and was so helpful We are getting ready to launch our first online Pain to Power: Orgasmic Birth Online Childbirth classes and WP Engine was just what we needed to be sure we can scale and grow with confidence.

    Thank you
    Debra

    • Yess!! Oh, I am SO happy this came at the right time and that your Orgasmic Birth course is going to be able to scale and taken on all the women who are so going to benefit from your work! :)

  11. Nathalie, thanks for this review; you’re a valued resource, as always. I love my WPEngine hosting, but also wanted to give a shout out for LightningBase hosting, which I also use: they are super-fast, reliable, and super-inexpensive. Small startup company in Minneapolis, and I have several site hosted with them (for full transparency: no affiliate or other relationship).
    Keep Rocking it, and Thanks again, Russ

  12. I’m not quite able to afford Wp Engine yet. I have 2 business sites plus a course site with Optimize Pressand my husband has a fun photo blog that might become a business. So at the moment I’m with Hostgator as multi sites and cheap. But! So many issues with plugins and things just not working right. Definitively hosting as happen when deactivate plugins and theme, plus all sites the same. So I’m looking around. Site ground seems a good option, wondering if you have any knowledge of them? HG have offered me their optmixed WordPress hosting package but am so fed up with them and their patchy support that I really just want to move. I’m developing a course to launch soon and the issues I’m having are holding me back.

  13. WP Engine is by far one of the best managed web hosting services around. They offer an extensive list of features and have several different plans on offer for all kinds of users. If you’re new to WordPress or simply don’t have enough time to take care of your site’s maintenance, security, and upkeep, WP Engine is perfect for you – provided you don’t mind spending some money.i have been using it from quite some time ,i must they are excellent and upto the mark with their service.