Three years ago, we didn’t design and build websites, let alone host them. Now, this is an integral part of our business, and WPEngine is the only host provider we use. We learned that when we didn’t control the website architecture, backend management, and even the hosting – it really made the internet marketing aspects of what we do that much harder. Imagine signing up a client to provide search engine optimization or PPC management work, and then come to find out the infrastructure is not there to easily create new landing pages, add lead generation mechanisms, or simply add tracking code without having to go in and modify PHP files.
Now when we work with a new client, the first thing we are evaluating is the website architecture, it’s lead generation capabilities, and how simple things like changing meta tags and adding 3rd party scripts are going to be (or not be). Last week we spent over two hours trying to figure out how to change the title tag in an ExpressionEngine website. It had to do mostly with how the original developer hard-coded the homepage template and finding where in the include files he was pulling the site-wide generic title tag. This is clearly not an ideal setup for this client – or any client – but I’m just not a fan of EE for a lot of reasons, and one of them is the lack of plugins and settings to effectively manage SEO.
If Pear is going to redesign your website, we are only going to use WordPress, and we are going to require that it is hosted on WPEngine, or we simply won’t be able to help you.
And here’s why:
WordPress is the most ubiquitous platform out there. Check out these stats below from Builtwith.com. You can see that WordPress dominates with nearly 50% of the top 1 million websites. That means there are more developers and service providers who will be more familiar with WordPress than any other platform, making it easier to find support if you need it. Even if you aren’t using Pear Analytics for all of your web needs, on Upwork.com I found 109,138 WordPress dev resources, as opposed to only 20,104 for Drupal, and a paltry 629 for ExpressionEngine. Which platform would you rather be on?
Clients who chose to host their WP site on their own, and chose not to use WPEngine, all had major problems. Setting up your own dedicated box is a lot of work, and WordPress requires some additional configurations to work properly. For example, you’ll need to configure Apache on your Linux box to be able to automatically rewrite the URL’s to be SEO-friendly, so you don’t have pages like yoursite.com/?p=123. WPEngine does this automatically for you! Another fun fact is that every WordPress site we have built that we allowed to be hosted elsewhere, and not WPEngine, were all hacked at some point. One of the most recent ones involved a massive 404 attack with non-existent URLs, which many “claim” have no impact on SEO, but then who needs to see this in Search Console anyway? For one client, we discovered their site was hacked only after finding thousands of Nike running shoe pages in their crawl report. Then there was the task of removing the pages, changing passwords, etc., etc. Looking at the cost in terms of time and resources to fix this hack makes the cost of WPEngine a no-brainer. They have a built-in intrusion detection system that will do a much better job of thwarting the latest DDoS or brute-force attack than you could do on your own with firewalls and other appliances.
Another thing WPEngine does to help with attacks and uptime is they have you set a CNAME instead of forcing a single IP in the A record (although you can do that). This allows them to move to a new cluster and change your IP in the event of an attack or outage without you having to do anything. Pretty convenient!
The WPEngine migration tool is FANTASTIC. We use this tool every time, and haven’t had a major issue yet! It works beautifully in migrating all of your content and database over to a staging URL where you can check to make sure everything works, and then complete the migration and update the DNS. One thing we have found that you will want to be aware of, is any hard-coded CDN references from your old host. If you should encounter this rare issue, you can use this tool to search and replace all of the hard coding. It takes some programming knowledge, and I admit I was scared I would screw something up the first time I used it, but all went well and you’ll feel like a genius when it works. WPEngine support was great during the process, too.
The automatic backups and restore points definitely saved me more than once. This is another fave-feature from WPEngine where they automatically backup our sites every night, and then even allow me to create a new backup point whenever I want, in case I’m updating a plugin. In one particular case, I backed up a site before upgrading the Visual Composer plugin, only to find out something didn’t work right, and actually caused several errors on the front end. No worries though – all I had to do was restore to a prior backup point and within 60 seconds the site was back to normal.
The easiest domain-level redirects and redirect rules in the industry. Now I’ve worked with many host providers in the past, including Network Solutions, 1&1 Hosting, Rackspace and many others, and WPEngine has by far, the easiest interface to perform the necessary redirects on your URLs or root domains. This really makes my SEO job much easier.
24/7 live chat technical support is now available! I’ve always had great support from WPEngine, but support tickets are yesteryear, and their new live chat feature makes it so easy. Also, the support folks are not low-level like other hosting companies – they can actually go into your account and fix stuff.
So there you have it – just a few of the reasons we love WPEngine and why we only host our clients there. It really streamlines our support as well, by having one place to login to and manage accounts. If you would like Pear to host and support your website, fill out the form below and get a FREE migration.