We recently took the plunge and moved Techgarage over to WP Engine. As you know, our plans for Techgarage has never been just retailing camera accessories, but to write in the vein of TechCrunch, ArsTechnica and others who inspire us. That’s why Techgarage has always been on WordPress, which provides us with a much more superior writing experience.
However, WordPress is still in it’s infancy, compared to pure online carts like OS Commerce, Magento and others, which many top Malaysian ecommerce stores are using, and thus the growing pains experienced with our store. That’s one of the reasons why we had to switch our backend shopping cart system as we moved to be more competitive.
However, while changing shopping carts, we still wanted to be on wordpress, and thus found ourselves having 30 seconds load up times. IPServerOne, which gave us much support, helped us much in optimizing speeds, but we were still lagging. We did many optimizations, including CDN, but due to WordPress’ architecture, we still loaded up in 8 seconds. You see, WordPress and an shopping cart could load your server with a hundred odd queries. Ours had 200+ queries, which took really long.
WP Engine comes in
We heard of WP Engine as we were working hard and furiously without sleep on the dedicated server with IPServerOne. Indeed, they’ve been a great bunch of dedicated people. However, due to us working on the server, we had no time to upload products, nor blog, which should be our strength. And we made mistakes, wiped out everything, and had to download the backup and upload it again. That whole process of downloading and re-uploading probably took us 5 hours. That’s 5 hours of productive time, or time to work on our store/blog. And we haven’t counted the hours trying to optimize Apache, Nginx, etc.
We signed up with WP Engine as putting Techgarage on a dedicated server while trying to relaunch is really tough due to the technicalities, and had the site running within 2 hours. Then we found that they had an auto backup, manual backup and restore as well. Trying those, we found our site was backed up within 10 seconds, while restoration took no more than 30 seconds to a minute. Granted, our site is still small to medium sized, but what an amazing performance. Wow!
Also, our loading speeds went down from 8 seconds to 4 seconds. Incredible. Compared to the original loading speed of 30 seconds, we’re almost 90% less.
Â What we liked:
- Affordable fees
- Great service
- Auto updates
- Good amount of fail-safes
- Auto removes/updates plugins which needs it
- Enables us to focus on blogging and selling, rather than being tech-support
- Audited security by Securi
- Staging points, enables us to test plugins and changes before implementing them
What we didn’t quite like:
- 25 thousand unique visits/month on the Personal package might be a bit low for us
- The premium package prices aren’t very clear yet
Should I move if I’m on wordpress?
If you’re on wordpress and would prefer to self manage, you’ve no reason to move over. But, if you’re like us, whereby managing servers isn’t your main source of income, and would like something different, why not give WP Engine a try?
If you’re a large site, and find that you need to deploy servers and have a fail safe server as backup, and also have a fail safe database, you might just find moving over to WP Engine your cuppa tea as well.
If you’ve had experience with WP Engine, do share it here =) We’re always keen to hear your side of the story, as in how you got on board, and how was the service been so far?