With 6 out of 10 websites in the world being a WordPress site, chances are you are using WordPress too. Even if you are not, you are certainly viewing a WordPress site now. Yes, 100Webhosting.com is proudly powered by WordPress.
Now, if you are running or planning to run your websites on WordPress, the next thing to consider is the hosting services. There are thousands of web hosting providers around, from large international web hosting companies to smaller garage-run web hosting setups. You may also want to consider a WordPress exclusive hosting company. One such highly popular host is WP Engine.
Who is WP Engine?
As a web hosting provider, WP Engine is relatively new. They were established in July 2010 by co-founders Jason Cohen and Ben Metcalfe.
However, in a short span of 3 years, this company has built up a great reputation for themselves. In fact, a check on their Twitter account shows that they have more than 10,000 followers.
What sets WP Engine apart from other web hosting providers is the fact that they are specifically a WordPress host. But that’s not all. They offer a high level of security, stability and support for WordPress hosting that other general web hosting providers are unable to match.
Their hosting plans are more expensive when compared to other shared web hosting providers. WP Engine’s cheapest hosting plan, the Personal Plan costs $29.00 per month and that’s for only for 1 WordPress installation!
You might want to ask, since they are so expensive, is it still worth it to host with WP Engine? In my opinion, the answer is “yes”.
Why WP Engine?
I have used the services of many web hosting providers over the years and thus, am able to evaluate and compare these web hosts’ service levels and features. There are many reasons why WP Engine is recommended as a preferred web hosting provider for WordPress sites.
Very fast hosting and customized for WordPress
They are faster because they invested in state-of-the-art hardware and software, and their servers are customized for WordPress. According to Jason Cohen, they are able to “serve 10,000 page requests per second”. So, even if you are physically at the other end of the world from Austin, USA (which is where WP Engine is located), you will still notice that your websites are as fast as (if not faster) than your local hosting providers.
Best web hosting support
They provide some of the best support among web hosting companies. The support team behind WP Engine is truly professional and knowledgeable. In fact, WP Engine employed the most number of WordPress experts compared to other web hosting providers.
Starting from September 2013, all customers can get support from their engineer through Live Chat. This is the fastest and most cost effective way to get support for WP Engine customers.
They are scalable in case of increased traffic. Unlike many web hosting providers who will not think twice in shutting your website down should it experience a spike in traffic, WP Engine can handle the extra load. All you need to do is pay an overage fee of $1 for every 1,000 visitors that are over your plan’s limit.
They take security seriously. In fact, WP Engine guarantees that if you are hacked, they will fix your website for you for free. And they also promise that all WordPress updates will be incorporated within an hour after their release.
They have a staging area where you can test changes (like installing a new theme) on a copy of your site. Thus, you do not have to worry about how these changes might affect your actual site.
However, don’t just take my word for it. Try to Google for WP Engine and you will find lots of positive reviews on this web host. That is why companies like SoundCloud, ConstantContact, HTC, foursquare and MaxCDN are satisfied customers of WP Engine!
WP Engine control panel
Once you have sign-up for WP Engine’s hosting plan, you are now ready to set up your website. Actually, creating websites and navigating your WP Engine account is quite easy and straight forward. Here’s a walkthroughon how to use the control panel (which WP Engine calls user portal).
First, you will need to login to your account at https://my.wpengine.com/.
HOME and INSTALLS
- Once login, you will see your dashboard. The dashboard will show you your usage for the current period. This usage is calculated based on the number of unique IP addresses visiting your website in a given period. This is important because WP Engine charges you based on these visits that your website received.
For example, my dashboard shows that in the period of Oct 14 – Nov 14, I have 12,844 visits for my mywebhosting.com installation. This is still within my limit of 25,000 visits under the Personal Plan.
However, if you were to look at the period Sep 14 – Oct 14, you will notice that I have an overage visits of 64.655 (total visits 89,655 less plan limit of 25,000). Since WP Engine charges $1 for every 1,000 overage visits, that’s $65 extra on top of the $25 monthly hosting fess. This is what WP Engine meant by scalable hosting plan.
- Now, let’s look at how to install a new WordPress site.
Click on “+ Add Install” and a pop-up window will request the new installation’s details.
In my example, I have named this new install as “TodayTest”. You will notice that the domain is temporarily “todaytest.wpengine.com”. Leave the “Enable Multisite” unchecked. Click on “Save Install”.
Once installed, you will be able to find the new site listed in your dashboard.
- If you would like to view more details about your site, you can click on the site’s name. For example, if I would like to know the statistics for mywebhosting site, I click on the “mywebhosting” installation and details like number of visitors and bandwidth used will be shown.
- Now to add domain(s). Click on “Domains” on the left side-panel.
- Click on “+Add Domain” and a pop-up window will request for the new primary domain name. Enter the relevant information and confirm by clicking on “Add Domain”. You can then check your site by navigating to your domain name in a separate browser.
- Now you can start to configure or customize your site.
The next button on the left side-panel is for CDN (Content Delivery Network) setup. CDN helps to speed up your website by putting your static content on servers located all around the world. WP Engine provides automatic CDN service for all their plans except the Personal Plan. You will need to contact WP Engine’s support team to enable (or disable) the CDN service.
- Next comes the “Redirect Rules” button.
Click on “New Redirect Rule” to add new rules and a pop-up window will appear. Fill in the requested information.
- Redirect Name – the name of this rule
- Domain – select the domain(s) that you want the redirect rule to affect
- Source – the redirect “from” page
- Destination – the redirect “to” page
- The next button is the “Backup Points”. Click on it and you will see a list of daily backups automatically performed on your website by WP Engine.
Here, you can create a new backup (or restore point) by clicking on “Backup Now”, restore a previous backup by clicking “Restore” and download a backup by clicking on “Download Zip”.
- Next on the left side-panel is the “Error Logs”. This allows you to check your website’s error (if any).
- The last link under “Installs” is “phpMyAdmin”. Click on this and you will see an web-based interface for you to manage the MySQL database that WordPress uses.
- Now, let’s take a look at how to create your profile. Click on “Users” at the top of your control panel. You will see a list of users and their access types.
- Click on “+ Add User” and a pop-up window will appear. Fill in your details and the system will send you an email to confirm your access.
- Click on “Settings” at the top of the control panel to manage your profile and billing information. You will see the “Account Profile” of the currently logged in user.
- Then click on “Billing Information” at the left side-panel. You will see the account’s billing details such as the credit card number, expiry date, billing address and etc.
- If you would like to view your past payment history, click on “Invoice History”. It will list your past invoices and the billed amount.
For my hosting account, you will see in the screenshot that for the first 3 months, I only paid $4 per month. This was a promotional price for me to try out the service. Needless to say, I stayed on and on subsequent months, I paid the full price of $29 per month.
- The other thing that new users should know is how to request for support. Click on “Support” at the top right hand corner of the control panel. There will be a drop-down menu with 2 choices i.e. Support Garage and Open a Ticket.
- WP Engine’s support is not 24/7 but is between 9am – 6pm US Central Standard Time (CST). But their professionalism and knowledge make it up for this. You won’t have to deal with the common “first level support who will need to escalate your problem to a higher authority”.Alternatively, you can browse through their well-written support articles called Support Garage.
- Of course, if you can’t find any answer to your problem in the Support Garage, you can choose to “Open a Ticket”. Select the topic that you would like to ask or discuss.
- Once you have selected your Topic, the page will then display the customer service representative who is going to assist you with your problem. Along with this are links to articles related to your topic which may help you find your solution. You can choose to read these articles or proceed to open a support ticket.
- You can also change your topic. All you need to do is select another problem from the topic listing.
- If you were to proceed to open a support ticket, you will then see a page where you can type out your question(s). Fill in the details and then click “Submit to Support Team”.
WP Engine live chat support
Here is an exciting news.
WP Engine has recently started a Live Chat support option. It would certainly speed up their support process and enable them to resolve any issues more quickly. You will be able to use the live chat from within the control panel. Currently, this Live Chat will be available from 9am to 6pm CST only, although they promise to expand those hours very soon.
WordPress has certainly grown to be one of the most popular personal publishing platforms today. It helps users create websites easily and quickly. WordPress is also known for its advanced functionality and customizability. Therefore WordPress is beyond just blogging (which was what it was initially designed for) and today, it’s being used by a variety of websites including online businesses.
However, having a great application doesn’t automatically guarantee you a reliable website or that your readers will enjoy a great surfing experience. Choosing the right web hosting provider also plays an important part.
I highly recommend WP Engine web hosting services for WordPress sites. I have used many web hosting services for the past decade and trust me, WP Engine’s services are in a league of their own and are beyond comparative. I have been using and testing WP Engine’s services for the more than 6 months now and so far, they did not fail me.
In fact, they impress me so much that for I don’t mind paying a little higher for the speed and security as well as the extra functions that I get in return (like the staging area). So why not give them a try? You have nothing to lose since they offer a 60-day free trial!