For years, I have been the great bargain hunter for hosting services, looking for those with both a strong reputation and the lowest price I could find. I can’t say that I’ve been unhappy with that. Everyone’s happy when they’re getting a deal. Recently a client’s site (on a host service he selected and which is very well-known) was hacked. Instead of a welcoming home page there was a frightening goth character there in greeting. A call to the hosting service met with the friendly reply: “We host WordPress because it’s popular, but we don’t support it.” So I did have a friendly person on the line – but no help. Now you have the back story.
This experience did get me thinking about the vulnerable position I might be placing clients in by using my best buy – dirt cheap model. One day I was reading and came across a review of WP Engine, a host service that focuses on sites created with WordPress, my preferred tool for creating websites. The first thing that I noticed was the promise for greater speed and next was the added layer of security they give. Then I noticed the price. Whoa. Not my bargain basement pricing for sure. So why am I still here and a believer? Both security and speed can be managed by cobbling together several of the great plugins freely available. The downside to that is that to be effective someone needs to keep them current. Also, lots of added plugins can create a site that moves as slow as jam on a flat surface. Then there is the extra hurdle: clients don’t build an ongoing maintenance program into the budget. Using WP Engine I know that there is someone minding the back-end and as part of the service they keep up security, cache sites for greater speed and a whole host of other features.
So what seemed at first to be more expensive turned out to be a fantastic deal; I’m happy putting clients into a service that gives great support for all the normal issues that may arise and that also has an added layer of support for WordPress. They are getting the ongoing maintenance they need to be built into the monthly fee. There are benefits for me as well, including a staging area to test out things hidden from public view and, when I hit a wall, that same great support. WP Engine’s service, it turns out, is a bargain hunters dream.
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