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Upgrading to a better and faster hosting account has been on my mental to-do list for quite some time. I’ve procrastinated in this regard for months and months. I figured, my sites still get traffic and rankings. I’m making more and more money each month. Why bother? I’ve been paying only $9.95 per month for a shared hosting account at Hostgator. All of my money sites and blogs were on this same hosting account. But late last month, I got the kick in the butt that I needed to finally make it a priority to upgrade to a better hosting plan. Not only did I get a better plan – I am now proudly using the best and fastest web hosting company when it comes to WordPress sites. Want to hear more about that kick in the butt? Keep reading.
Getting Called Out on a Very Popular Blog
A couple of months ago, I noticed that I was getting a lot of referral traffic from a popular blog in the UK that is run by Matthew Woodward. Upon further investigation, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was including me in his monthly Income Report Roundup posts. In these reports he ranks me and several others who boldly report their internet income online. So, in last months report, I was sitting at #9. As I scrolled down to leave a comment, I noticed that somebody in the comments made mention of my site. Here is a screenshot showing exactly what they said.
Ouch!! Called out like that, and apparently Matthew Woodward had commented about it before. People were obviously noticing how slow my site loads. I made it a priority to research my options and speed up my site.
Finding the Fastest Web Hosting for WordPress
I knew I needed to get away from shared hosting. When I checked to see how many other domains were on the same server (free tool here), I found that nearly 200 other sites were pointing to the same IP as mine. Yikes! I immediately started researching and asking around. I read review posts about different hosting companies. I asked some trusted internet marketing acquaintances that I have. I came to the conclusion that the best and fastest web hosting option is with a service called WPEngine (affiliate link).
I am really impressed with WPEngine so far. Their customer support has been second to none. I’ve had to contact them a couple of times only because I am really dumb when it comes to all the technical stuff. I stubbornly decided to migrate my site over to my new hosting account myself. It took me nearly 5 hours to figure out, despite the very clear step-by-step instructions that they provide. I admit, I almost cried and almost gave up. They have a service that will take care of the migration for you (for a fee). But I opted to save a few bucks – plus I kind of wanted to learn the process anyway. Be forewarned – migrating a site from one hosting company to another is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for beginners. After it is all said and done, I wish I would have paid the service to do it for me.
Hostgator to WPEngine – My Results
These images speak for themselves. I took the screenshot on the left on April 8th, 2014. The day that I decided to start shopping around for hosting. I used a free speed test tool from QuickSprout.com. I took the screenshot on the right on April 18th, only one day after I completed the migration to WPEngine. I made no other changes whatsoever to increase my site speed or load time. Apparently, there are still a few things that I could do to improve these stats. But for now, I am just extremely happy that I switched to the fastest web hosting option for WordPress with WPEngine.
Not only does site speed and load time improve the user experience for visitors to your site, it also vastly improves administrator experience. I am loving how fast my site is now. Even working on the back end within WordPress is much faster. Sure, I’m paying a little bit more per month than I was with my crappy shared hosting account – but it is definitely worth it. I encourage you to look into WPEngine yourself if you’re looking for the best and fastest web hosting option for WordPress.
UPDATE: (04/24/14) – My Experience with WPEngine
Six days later, and I wanted to write up a quick update and let you know about a few things that I didn’t even know about before I signed up for WPEngine.
Automatic Daily Backups
One of my favorite discoveries is that WPEngine backs up my site daily. I know there are plugins and other programs that you can get to achieve this – but the hassle free way that it is handled within WPEngine is really awesome. Also, each time I go to make a major change within WordPress (like install a new plugin) a window pops open and asks me if I would like to backup first. I tried it a few times and it only took a few seconds. This way if I really screw up my site somehow, I can easily restore it within the WPEngine user portal with just one click. Below is a screenshot of what the Backup Points screen looks like within the user portal.
Previously, I wasn’t very good at keeping my sites backed up. I didn’t have automatic backups setup anywhere – and I would only backup manually every so often. With WPEngine, I didn’t have to set up anything and they started backing up my site automatically. I didn’t even know it was happening until a few days later!
Autoptimize Plugin to Improve Load Times Even More
I previously did not know about this plugin. It came to me as a suggestion from Jeff who blogs over at Online Side Income. As a result of reading this post, he left a comment below and then also emailed me some specific instructions on a few things I could do to speed up my site even more. Simply installing this plugin was the easiest one, so I did it. Check out the results for yourself. It cut my load time nearly in half!
WPEngine Does Not Handle Email
Another thing I figured out the hard way – if you have an email address attached to your domain (like I do), that doesn’t transfer over when you migrate your site. Not only that, but WPEngine doesn’t have an option to run your email through their hosting platform. It’s just not something they offer. But they do offer some simple suggestions – and I took advantage of one of them and got my email back up and running very easily. In fact, I wish I had known about the Google Apps option before – which I now run my domain name email address through now. It was a lot easier to setup and integrate with my Gmail account than it was to setup email through Hostgator and get integrated.
I think that’s it for this update. Again, I can’t say enough good things about WPEngine. I have no doubt that they are the fastest web hosting option for WordPress. Not only that, but everything else about their service is unbelievable. I highly suggest their hosting platform. Two thumbs up from one very satisfied customer.
Remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.
Photo Credit: carnagenyc from Flickr