Why I moved to WP Engine

I spent quite a bit of time optimizing my blog for fast page loads. More time that I want to admit and more time than it should take to get a relatively basic site like mine to load quickly. I stopped fumbling around and trying to figure this out on my Dreamhost account and move my blog to WP Engine.

Why WP Engine?

  1. Speed – They know how to configure servers for WordPress sites and they can achieve speeds that other hosting providers can’t provide. After migrating a couple of other sites to WP Engine, I’ve noticed a dramatic reduction in page load times. (see below)
  2. Security – WP Engine automatically scans and repairs hacking attempts  to ensure your site doesn’t get hacked in the first place, and then they continually monitor your site for hacks. If it still gets hacked, they’ll fix it for free!
  3. Commitment to WordPress – Perhaps most important, the primary reason they are so great is their commitment to the WordPress community.
  4. Automatic backups – WP Engine provides stupid simple backup and restore options — at no extra charge =  Peace of mind.
  5. Automatic WordPress updates – they automatically install WordPress security and maintenance upgrades, I’m always up to date. 🙂

Just How Fast is WP Engine?

Here is a snapshot of my site’s response time over a 6 month period going from standard Dreamhost, Dreamhost with WP Supercache, standard Dreamhost, and then the move over to WPEngine. The best response time I was able to achieve on Dreamhost was 635ms vs the best response time on WP Engine has been 303ms.
Dreamhost vs WP Engine

WordPress 3.5 “Elvin” is Out

Named after Elvin Jones, WordPress 3.5 is the most powerful release yet with a completely revamped Media interface and user experience.

Highlights

  • New Media Manager
    • Beautiful interface: A streamlined, all-new experience
    • Create galleries faster with drag-and-drop reordering, inline caption editing, and simplified controls
    • Insert multiple images at once with Shift/Ctrl+click
  • New Default Theme – Twenty Twelve
    • Simple, flexible, elegant
    • Mobile-first, responsive design
    • Gorgeous Open Sans typeface
    • Uses the latest Theme Features
    • Admin Enhancements
      • New Welcome Screen
      • Retina-Ready (HiDPI) Admin
      • Hide Link Manager for new installs
      • Better accessibility for screenreaders, touch devices, and keyboard users
      • More polish on admin screens, including a new color picker

And much more on the developer side…

Choose your Domain Registrar Wisely

Choosing the right domain registrar is important, it’s like entering a marriage with a service that rules your entire internet presence. A divorce could be difficult and ugly for any services that are connected to domain. Your domain is a critical point to everything about your company online, CyanogenMod learned recently how not managing this properly internally can put you in a tight spot without many options.

Jetpack Keeps Getting Better

The Jetpack plugin for WordPress that brings a lot of the features from WordPress.com blogs to your own hosted installation of WordPress has always been good, but in the past 4 months they’ve had several releases that have taken the plugin to the next level. This is one of the best plugins out there for self hosted WordPress installations, it brings all the things you love about WordPress.com with the flexibility of hosting your own installation.

Latest Features include:

  • Publicize – settings on the post editor to automatically push your blog post out to your social media accounts.
  • Post by Email – self-explanatory, the ability to publish posts via email.
  • Photon – upload and deliver your post images via the WordPress.com CDN for better performance.
  • Infinite Scroll – loads 7 posts at a time and continuously loads more posts for infinite reading and makes post pagination redundant.

In total so far, Jetpack has 23 separate feature modules for everything from Fancy Lightbox galleries, site backup management, to a really awesome CSS editor with revision history that makes it easy to customize your Theme’s style without accessing SVN or FTP. All of these features add up to a really powerful plugin that should be first on your list of plugins to install on your next WordPress installation. Really excited to see where Automattic takes Jetpack next.

Another 4 Years

I’m excited to see what the next 4 years will bring with Obama as President again. I feel like his first 4 years were spent chasing our tails around in Congress not really getting anything done.

My hope is that in the next 4 years, Congress will decide that it’s actually time to do…wait for it…SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter which party’s Policies are the best, what matters is that we actually try something instead of stopping every bill, every decent idea that comes through in congress just because one party is out to get the other one.