WP Engine: The Best Managed WordPress Hosting

Choosing a hosting provider for your WordPress website is an important decision. In this article we will discuss some of the excellent features offered by WP Engine’s managed hosting service and why we recommend them to every client.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosts specialize in hosting WordPress websites specifically and they offer special features like caching, staging for updates, easy backups and restores, and speed enhancements. They are generally helpful with WordPress issues, and they often have additional security features that other hosts don’t have. This is very different than traditional shared hosting where you simply rent storage on a server which may or may not be well designed to work with specific platforms or technology, and where you may feel left on your own if your site is hacked or you have a WordPress specific question.

When you should consider switching hosts:

When you start a new blog/website it’s normal not to think about things like server performance, traffic and security and often people looking for hosting only consider cost. You want to worry about the site’s appearance and what content to publish rather than the technical underpinnings of the server hosting your site, and that’s totally understandable. Often it is only after the site’s been up for sometime that issues with your server will begin to arise, and you may start to wonder about your choice of web hosing. Maybe your site slows down or you have down time, or goodness forbid your site gets hacked. Good quality managed WordPress hosting guards against these issues, and even though it tends to be a bit more expensive, it can save you a lot of hassle, and even money, in the long run.

Why is WP Engine the Best WordPress Hosting?

1. Designed for WordPress

WP Engine’s WordPress hosting is designed and optimized for WordPress websites specifically. They take care of every single piece of server optimization to ensure your website is living on the most fastest and best WordPress hosting platform possible.

2. The Best Customer & Technical Support

WP Engine’s technical team and customer support consist of WordPress developers and trained experts. The WP Engine support team is available 24/7 via phone, chat or support tickets. We can not emphasize enough how valuable it is to have a smart and knowledgable support team available for you (and your website) at any time. They are also extremely professional and friendly!

3. The Best  Security

WP Engine takes security very seriously. They monitor server traffic 24/7 and are able to prevent malicious traffic and attacks. In addition to real time monitoring and finely tuned server security, all WP Engine plans include daily backups and 1-click restore points. With WP Engine you are only 1-click away from your site being restored to a prior state if anything goes wrong.

4. Speed!

The WP Engine architecture and caching system ensures your site will perform at optimal speed and their architecture is continuously improved to reduce site load time. Additionally WP Engine can make use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to distribute your site data across a global network of servers to reduce geographic distance between your site visitors and your website data if you server a global audience.

5. One-Click Staging Websites

We can not emphasize enough what a valuable tool the one-click staging feature is. We LOVE it! A staging website is basically a copy or clone of your live website. One of the reasons we love the staging environment is that it gives our clients are safe and easy place to try out core and plugin updates or plugin additions before changing things on their live websites. This way, clients can take control of their own updates while maintaining confidence that  those updates will not break any functionality on their live website.

6. Free SSL Certificates with Let’s Encrypt

To top it all off, WP Engine now offers free SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt. With fast and easy configuration we appreciate how painless it is to configure SSL for any site on WP Engine.

TLC with WP Engine ♥

Your website is very much like a living thing. It needs care and love and maintenance. You probably spent many thousands of dollars investing in your new website, and you want your users to enjoy a fast and reliable experience when they visit it, while you want to maintain it in as pain-free a way as possible. This is where WP Engine comes in.

In closing, it may seem like spending $35/month on hosting is a lot, and with plans starting at $35/month WP Engine is not a “cheap” hosting solution. But with all of the great features, performance and support that WP Engine can offer, we believe that it is an excellent value.

WP Engine

SSL and HTTPS – Everything You Need to Know

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser (e.g., Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer); or a mail server and a mail client (e.g., Outlook).

Originally HTTPS was designed to allow for sensitive information to be safely exchanged over the internet, today it is a best practice for all websites.

Here are the top four reasons why every new website being built today should be served over HTTPS:

  • SEO – Search engines have started to rank sites that are served over HTTPS higher than comparable HTTP sites
  • Trust & Security – HTTPS makes man-in-the-middle attacks much more difficult and establishes a level of trust with the server you are connecting to
  • Surveillance – The rise of government surveillance, both foreign and domestic
  • It’s easy! Setting up HTTPS is now generally easy to do and SSL certificates can now be purchased and installed for free

How SSL Works

The lack of encryption with http:// URLs makes it very unsafe to browse and interact with websites that contain sensitive information, like bank websites, shopping websites, or any website that you login to, and especially any website where you enter a credit card number.When you visit a website at an http:// URL, information is sent through the network (“over the wire”) unencrypted, and you have no guarantee that the server you are connecting to at the other end is actually the server you think it is.

The https:// protocol solves these problems by forcing the network packets to be encrypted and guaranteeing via a third-party that the server on the other end is the one and only valid server for that URL. HTTPS makes man-in-the-middle attacks far more difficult and establishes a level of trust with the server you are connecting to.

The Certificate Authority

The third-party that establishes this trust is the “Certificate Authority”. The Certificate Authority sells SSL certificates and creates the network “handshake” that happens when connecting to a website. This way you can be sure when browsing over HTTPS that the server you are connecting to is the server you are asking for, and that any network packets you pass back and forth will be encrypted.

How to Implement SSL

The process of purchasing and installing an SSL certificate is generally very simple, and many web hosts will both sell and install SSL certificates in one step. You can also purchase an SSL certificate yourself from a certificate authority like RapidSSL and then ask your host to install it for you.

Although SSL certificates can still be expensive when purchased through certain certificate authorities, a new initiative led by a group of the biggest internet companies in the world called Let’s Encrypt is promising to provide top notch SSL certificates for free. As of January 2016 this service is in public beta, but very soon it will be the go to place for acquiring free SSL certificates.

Standard vs. Wildcard SSL Certificates

The only decision a potential SSL certificate purchaser needs to make is whether to get a standard SSL certificate or a special SSL certificate called a wildcard certificate. Standard SSL certificates protect a single domain like mightyminnow.com but don’t protect subdomains like hello.mightyminnow.com, whereas wildcard certificates can protect one level deep into subdomains. If your domain name has any subdomains that you want to serve over HTTPS, you’ll want to purchase a wildcard certificate.

What Now?

If you want your website to be more secure, better trusted and better “liked” by Google – consider purchasing and configuring an SSL certificate.

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