Hackers and malware are everywhere these days, so it’s important to take site security seriously. To combat this problem, I recently moved maryshaw.net to WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting company. In this post I’ll share my migration experience so you can see if using a managed WordPress host is right for you.
What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?
A managed WordPress hosting company provides standard hosting services plus routine maintenance, including WordPress software updates, nightly backups and security. They also leave plenty of room for scalability as your website traffic grows. It’s kind of like having a WordPress concierge service. This is very different from traditional website hosts, which basically just give you part of a server to park your site on.
The only real downside to using a managed host is that you don’t have total control of every plugin you might want to use. As WordPress specialists, they often have some restrictions on plugins that might slow a site down or make it vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Why I Switched Hosting Companies
This morning I woke up to an email alert that one of my other websites had been hacked. It was very nerve-wracking to say the least. I had to scramble and jump through several hoops to get everything cleaned up.
I’ve been thinking about moving this site to a managed host for a while. My website traffic is climbing steadily each month, so the last thing I need is to lose momentum (or worse) from malware distractions.
I’m also going to do a complete redesign of this website soon. That means it will be important to setup a proper staging and testing environment. That’s definitely possible with any website host, but it’s a lot easier with a managed hosting company.
I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about WP Engine, so this morning’s email was enough to make me pull the trigger and sign up.
Is It Worth It?
WP Engine has live sales chat, which is very convenient. After some back and forth discussing my needs the rep recommended the personal plan, which is currently $29 a month.
That is substantially more than I am paying for hosting now. But since WP Engine provides automated backups and security I will no longer need to pay an annual fee for maintenance and security plugins. My site should also run much faster now. This means visitors will enjoy a much better user experience.
I think it will eventually pay for itself in improved site speed, SEO, productivity gains and less management headaches.
What Happens During The Migration Process?
I’ve been putting off migrating my website forever because I thought it would take a full day or more to complete. Thankfully I was wrong.
The migration process was surprisingly easy. After signing up for an account I installed the WP Engine migration plugin, entered my info and clicked the “start migration” button.
I was tempted to go upstairs and make lunch, but I wanted to see how long it would take. Right now maryshaw.net is almost 100MB and has 31 tables in the database. Everything successfully copied over to WP Engine in about 20 minutes.
After all the files were copied it was time to point the DNS to the new servers. This was the only hiccup and required a quick call to GoDaddy. It also took some back and forth with WP Engine support to sort everything out.
Since I use Google Apps for email, GoDaddy recommended that I first copy my email MX entry records before changing the DNS. I didn’t realize that would be an issue, so it was very helpful to have someone on the phone to walk me through it.
I also forgot to run the migration plugin twice – once to actually copy the files from my old host to WP Engine, and then again to copy my files from the migration environment to the live site. Even with that slight detour, the full migration took less than two hours from start to finish.
Managed WordPress hosting with WP Engine is awesome so far. I sleep much better knowing I don’t have to worry about updating WordPress constantly or making manual backups anymore. I also know that if any nasty hacker bugs crawl onto my site they will be promptly squashed.
WP Engine offers a generous 60-day refund period. They also run periodic sales for new users. To learn more, sign up for WP Engine here.