Ask a few experienced WordPress professionals who is their preferred hosting company, and you will get a variety of answers, and often passionately delivered answers ta boot. I’ve been with or worked with many WordPress hosts and I can say, in my opinion, the best managed host for my WordPress business is *WP Engine.
I’ve had to engage with WP Engine’s support on many occasions (I always use chat, but they offer email and phone as well) and they’ve never let me down, being available 24/7. In fact, recently they helped me out with an issue what wasn’t even theirs.
Subdomains on Hover
I use *Hover as my registrar (the place where you go to register a domain name like www.mysite.com) and wanted to use a subdomain (like sub.mysite.com where sub is the subdomain). I wanted to point this subdomain to my WP Engine account and also, make it a multisite WordPress installation. Yes, enough to make your head go *POP*. I like Hover and their nice looking UI, however, when it comes to subdomain forwarding, it can be quite a challenge. I searched but could not locate a solution in their support documents on this topic. In fact, the one I did find and implemented sent me in an infinite loop error.
Enter WP Engine Support
On most registrars, you can create a subdomain and forward to any IP address you’d like. On Hover domains, you can only forward the base domain (which is mysite.com in the example above) to a single IP address. Luckily, in this case with WP Engine I was able to use a CNAME entry (it’s the alpha representation of your IP address) and this is what their support folks helped me implement. With one entry, now my subdomain goes instantly to any subsite on my WordPress multisite setup. Score!
Main Features Include:
- One-click staging: When logged into your WordPress dashboard area, you’ll see a WP Engine menu on the top-left sidebar. Click that, then the Staging tab and last, the blue button Copy site from LIVE to STAGING and you’re done. Depending on the size of your site, it might take a little bit to copy over, but they will notify you when it’s complete via email. I cannot imagine NOT having a staging site which is good for testing WordPress major updates, plugins or simply experimenting with a change you want to make before you put it on your live site.
- Daily backups: Daily backups take place automatically. In addition you have one-click Restores if needed. You can also select and download any backup locally in the form of a ZIP file. And finally, you can click a Back up now button and enter a short note as to why you’re making that ad hoc backup.
- Site migration: If you are moving an existing WordPress site to an install instance on your WP Engine account, you can use their automated migration plugin that will do the complete task for you. No need to try and copy hundreds of files or sync databases on your own.
- Utilities – Password Protected: Sometimes checking that box under Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility to request that search engines do not index your site doesn’t always work. This can cause duplicate content errors. The best way to protect your content until you’re ready to go live is to password protect it.
- SFTP users: Easily create SFTP users for access to your Live or Staging site in a few clicks.
- SSL: This is one of my favorite features! You can add a Let’s Encrypt (or other type) SSL Certificate super easy – NO need for an SSL redirect plugin or any changes to your .htaccess file, WP Engine handles all of this for you! Also, with Let’s Encrypt, they will automatically renew this when it expires. It truly is a set it and forget it feature. Oh, and if you think you do not need SSL (which secures your site with https🙂 because you don’t have an e-commerce store? Think again!
Google is taking notice and your search results will be affected.
- Transferable installs: For those building sites for others, you can start a site installation for no cost to you, then transfer the site and billing to your client, earning yourself a nice referral in the process!
And finally, one more feature I love is the lack of cPanel. This is my #1 criteria now for hosting, not having to log in to a cPanel dashboard. I mean really, why should we? It is so outdated in my opinion, and it’s not 100% WordPress focused. I do not miss it in the slightest!
If you are looking for a solid host that will have your back for you and your clients, this is a good time to give WP Engine a go. From now until Halloween you can get 30% off your annual payment using the coupon code halloween2017. That equates to 3 months free! A great deal. Just click the link over to your right in the sidebar and this will send you on your way. If you don’t want to click my link, go there directly at https://wpengine.com/ and use the coupon code either way, you will be glad you did!
*There are affiliate links sprinkled throughout this post. Have a look at my My Gear page to learn more.