My WordPress Migration Experience with WPEngine Hosting

WPEngine WordPress Migration

From last couple of days, I have been planning to expand ShoutMeLoud with few new things, and I was considering to move to a Webhosting company, which can give me more control + complete peace of mind. Earlier ShoutMeLoud was hosted on a private VPS, which was was well-optimized, but I missed the lack of control.  For example, I wanted to integrate a forum and few other sub-domains, to expand SML, but technical limitations always stopped me. After doing lots of research, reading tons of reviews, and hearing great stuff about many web hosting companies, I decided to opt for managed WordPress hosting. If you are wondering how managed WordPress hosting is different from shared hosting companies like Bluehost or Hostgator, here is a started guide on what is managed WordPress hosting.

I knew the pros and cons of managed WP hosting, and after looking at all the possible options, I decided to opt for WPEngine. They are recommended as one of the top managed hosting by many known brand, and they earned the trust. Here I will be sharing my experience of moving ShoutMeLoud from private VPS to WpEngine, and it will give you some important details about WPEngine hosting too.

Why Did I select WPEngine As WordPress hosting?

Of all the reviews I referred to, I learned that they are really good at what they do. They ensure that your WordPress website remains up, your pages will load blazingly fast, and they will take care of each and everything like website backup, site security, CDN and so on. To be honest, their deal is mind-blowing when it comes to features they are offering, and people who are non-technical and need someone to take care of their WordPress blog, WPEngine sounded like the perfect choice. There are few things that you should know before you also make a decision to move to them:

Pricing:

WPEngine pricing

One of the biggest reason I was holding myself to move from current hosting to a Managed WordPress hosting is because of price slab. Earlier, I was paying $49/month for my private VPS, where as on WPEngine is costing me $249/month, because of my traffic. This is like $200/month expense increase and total $2400/year increase in yearly expense. Again, I always believe in “Quality comes with a price“, and for complete peace of mind, the $200/month extra is not much.

And also, I found this coupon “HEATWAVE14“, which was giving me three months of hosting for free and letting me save $750, which is a huge saving. Anyways, I didn’t use coupon, because of my credit-card limitation of $2000, and also I didn’t want to put all the money on a hosting, which I’m trying for the first-time. But, after moving to them, I felt I should have made a one-year payment, and saved my $750. To give you an idea, here are some of the notable features that I got with WPEngine Business package:

  • Unlimited storage + unlimited data transfer
  • Daily backups: You don’t need to worry about using any premium solution or manually backing up your blog.
  • No caching plugin: This is the best part about WpEngine, as you don’t need to worry about caching. Caching is done at the server level, and you don’t need plugins like Super cache or W3Tc.
  • International data-centers: I already explained that your hosting location matters for geotargeting your website. WpEngine offers U.S; U.S and Japan based datacenters. Asian users can take advantage of Japan Datacenters.
  • Complete security: Tired of your Website getting hacked? WPEngine implements multi-level security like Firewall, malware scanning, and one click restore will ensure you never sit idle, even if something goes wrong.
  • Free CDN: Content delivery network ensure that your blog loads faster than ever, and WPEngine offers free CDN.
  • Dedicated I.P.:  With the business plan, you get free dedicated I.P., and we have already discussed why dedicated I.P. is important.

These are few of many features offers by WPEngine, and if you want to know all other features offered by them, check it out on their pricing page.

Plugins:

My convincing point for moving to WPEngine was using unlimited plugins. I’m a plugin lover, and I love to try, test, use a new plugin, and write about it. Moreover, from long I wanted to shift my ad management to AdRotate plugin, and WPEngine powerful hosting environment, looked like the perfect solution to me. To ensure that, customer get best WordPress hosting experience, they don’t allow certain plugins, including any cache plugin. The reason they disallow certain plugins because some of these plugins take too much time to execute an operation or uses 3rd PARTY API, which will make your WordPress blog load slow. Here is a complete list of disallowed plugins and alternatives. Here are few plugins which I removed after moving to them, and also alternatives that I’m using now:

I also removed few plugins, as these features are offered by default on WPEngine:

  • WP Missed schedule
  • No post revisions
  • WP Db-manager
  • W3 Total cache

60 days money back guarantee:

Even if something goes wrong, or your experience with WPEngine is not up to the mark, you can ask for complete money refund within 60 days of sign-up. That give me enough reason to trust them, and host ShoutMeLoud with them. At the time of writing, it’s been more than a week, and I had no issues so far.

My overall experience with moving WordPress site to WPEngine?

I will keep this part short, and useful for people who are looking to move their WordPress site to WPEngine. I will share a detailed review after using WPEngine for one more week.

WpEngine plugin compatibility checker

Before signing up with them, I installed WPEngine ready plugin to check if there is any incompatible plugin out there. This plugin showed me disallowed plugins, and I disabled all of them. And, I ended up signing up for the monthly professional account, and signing up process was very straight forward. Infect, within 5 minutes of signing up, I had my WPEngine Login with me.

And I started preparing for the migration by following my earlier tutorial.

  • I cleaned up database and reduce the size.
  • Got rid all un-necessary plugins and files.
  • Started taking backup of my Wp-content folder.

My Wp-content folder is almost 2 GB on Size, and it was taking ages with my internet speed to take backup, so I asked their support team to help me with moving WP-content folder from my old server to new WPEngine server. Within 38 minutes, I got a response from one of the support member ( Ben Moore),  which was not very pleasant, but I was happy to know they were helping me with the migration.

WPEngine Customer support

And, I gave them a Go and waited for a response. In between, I realized that I used to play with Shell commands years back, and I can use ssh and sFTP to do the transfer myself. If not, WPEngine support is as it is helping me. So, I opened my Mac Terminal, ssh’d into my old hosting, Zipped my WP-content folder, sFTP into my WPEngine account, and copied my zipped file from old hosting to new WPEngine account.  I have already shared a complete tutorial for the same:

Earlier, I didn’t realize, that I don’t have ssh access on WPEngine , and I will not be able to decompress the .tar file. So, I opened a ticket and asked their support team to decompress the folder, and move the content to my WP-Content folder. If this sounds like something you are not familiar with, you can always get in touch with me via Service page, and I will help you with this process. Once, they moved the file, all I needed to do was to move the database, and update the database info into the WP-config file. You can refer to my earlier guide on How to move WordPress host with zero downtime for better understanding. WPEngine offers staging feature, which will let you see how your website will look before making it live. (I will cover this part in detail, as staging feature will also be use to making changes on your site before making it live).

Once, everything looked fine, I updated my A record of domain, and within minutes I was hosted on WPEngine.  You can use a ping service like this to monitor, if A record has been reflected globally or not.

WpEngine Dashboard

One of the major complaint with WpEngine is their slow support, and lack of 24 hour support. I had a Skype conversation with one of their community Manager “Austin Gunter”, who told me that they are now working on 24*7 support, and also live chat support is underway.  More over, there is something good about WPEngine support, and that is: Your issues will be taken care by people who love and understand WordPress, so a faster resolution is expected.

At the time of writing, their support timings are from 9am-6pm CST, so it may not be so perfect for people who are living on the other side of the world. You might like to use a time-conversion service like this, while contacting support.

Quick suggestions for WPEngine team:

WPEngine is growing as a WordPress hosting brand, and certainly they look promising. Though, by the end a customer-centric company, is the only one which survive in long-haul. They should work on expanding their support time to round the clock, and offer different mode of support ( They have added live chat support). Being a complete WordPress centric hosting, a free migration will be a great bonus.

Conclusion:

Over all, after running ShoutMeLoud on WpEngine for more than a week, I believe it’s complete value for money. I still have to configure settings like CDN, and start adding new sub-domains, which is on local production site. I have not seen any down-time or slowness issue so far, and dashboard is blazing fast. More over, I keep adding more plugins without worrying about site slow-ness (Key is to use well-coded WordPress plugin), and most important I can focus on content development and promotion, without worrying about various hosting related issues.

Over all, if money is not an issue and you looking for a managed hosting solution for your WordPress blog, WPEngine is a good choice. It may not be for everyone (Due to high-pricing), but it’s for people who are facing hosting issues with growing traffic, and looking for a hassle-free solutions. I will be sharing complete review, and more details/tutorials in coming days, for now you can check out WPEngine, and subscribe to Email newsletter for more updates.

I would love to hear your experience with WPEngine so far? Also, if you have additional questions related to their hosting, feel free to ask me via comments.

Subscribe on Youtube

Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.

RECEIVE EXCLUSIVE BLOGGING TIPS

COMMENTs ( 28 )

  1. says

    Hi Harsh,

    Thank you very much for the great WP Engine review. I’m glad you’ve had such success with our platform so far. We’re incredibly glad to have you hosting Shout Me Loud with us.

    Keep met posted if there is anything else we can help you with, as well as how your site continues to progress!

    To your continued success.

    -Austin

    • says

      @Austin
      Thanks for all the help and support on Skype….
      So far, I’m having a great time on WPEngine, and could focus on what I’m good at.
      Best of luck to you and your team :)
      Harsh

  2. Ankit says

    As of above picture suggest.. $99 for 1,00,000 visitors per month.. but what if a site is getting 1,00,000 visitors per day??.. It looks like WP Engine plans described here will not be enough for such site..

    • says

      @Abhi
      Along with plugins, it’s indeed a great hosting for WordPress sites. Their serve is optimized for running WordPress blog, and that’s what makes it really great.

  3. Arnold says

    Hello Harsh,
    I think it is really premature to write an all inclusive review of a hosting service provider after just one week of hosting.

    Ever wonder why the company gave a 60-day money back guarantee?
    All the same, am happy for you. But Hostgator does more than they do at a lesser price too.

    That’s my opinion though.

  4. Jaspal Singh says

    I had an awful experience with wpengine .. I shifted almost all my sites .. And then suddenly after 1st week my traffic dropped constantly and gradually. And i had to withdraw away from them.

    Also the support team is sluggish .. They respond late and have very limited mindset. Its about 2 months back .. I hope it works well for you.

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, for me hostgator is best till now, my blog never went down, even someone tried to ddos my blog but it never went down.. Anyways maybe wpengine is also Ddos proof..

    • says

      @M Luxman
      Comparing Hostgator or other shared hosting with WpEngine is like comparing two different aspect of Hosting.
      Hostgator is a good and reliable hosting for all the platform, but WpEngine hosting is only dedicated to WordPress. Hostgator, bluehost and other shared hosting companies are good for a new blog which doesn’t need a lot of resources initially.

      I already mentioned about it in detail over here: http://www.shoutmeloud.com/why-shared-web-hosting-is-the-best-option-for-beginners.html

      But, when your site grows, and you need more resources; your options are VPS, dedicated or a managed WordPress hosting. I have tried managed hosting with Knownhost, an unmanaged VPS server with SSHVm and LInode, and realize the major issue with server configuration. WPEngine solves this problem, as they are well optimised for hosting WordPress blogs.

      Do remember, WPEngine is not for everyone, and is useful only when your hosting companies failed to host your WordPress blog, and VPS server doesn’t helps you either.

  6. _T-_ says

    I had a very different experience with WPEngine, i was told that i should do the transfer of my own by the support team , when i told them i cant do it they suggested me some sites which will do the transfer for me which cost around $200+ which was going beyond the budget limit.

    Even i find the support team to be slow be it pre sale or tech support it was taking ages to reply for them..

  7. says

    First of all congrats for migration of ShoutMeLoud to new servers. I am agree with Kinjalk Tripathi’s comments. WPEngine is really great but costly for bloggers like me :P

    • says

      @Gagan
      Price is definitely on higher side, and that’s what made me wait for long to decide, if it’s worth investing $250/month on a hosting, when I can pay $100 on a VPS and host my website. I was on a unmanaged VPS before, and I seriously missed the lack of control like dashboard to add sub-domain and try new things.

      But after considering all the options and possibilities, and that urge of trying managed WordPress hosting, I decided to take the decision, and so far my experience says, it’s worth putting that money. :)

  8. says

    Hi Harsh,

    Surely a great step ahead. At times i wonder how do you juggle your blogging and the administration of the servers.

    Hats off to you mate, You are a kindy the superman on the web !

  9. says

    Hi Harsh, another great piece of review. It will help me in future, not now. I think the mentioned blacklisted plugins mentioned by WPengine are not supported by them as they already have the similar hardware/software which perform similar functions. But for non-WPengine wordpress sites and blogs, I dont think they are bad. It is rather their business strategy to blacklist these mentioned plugins rather than an exact server compatibility issues. What do you think?

  10. Kushal Azza says

    Hey Harsh,
    Congrats for new hosting on WPEngine ! Keep sharing your experience with us regarding this hosting.

    Regards,
    Kushal

  11. surendra soni says

    Hello Harsh,
    Thanks for your review about wpEngine.
    I have question about plugins. Are they really offer premium plugins at. ZERO Cost?

  12. says

    It’s great . My migration experience with bluehost is very horrible . Bluehost’s data transfer speed and FTP upload speed are very low. First I tried to transfer data via BackWPup,failed . Again I tried a transload script ,It also failed again .
    As per your description WPEngine is a lot of better than bluehost but It’s a little costly than bluehost. Thank For your Suggestion

  13. Karshim Kanwar says

    Something new learn here. I always stayed away from Managed WordPress hosting. If I cross over the limit of $500 per month then I can think of any Managed WP hosting. Until then need progress.

ADD COMMENT