WP Engine Podcast Hosting and the Straw That Broke the Camel's Back
Podcast webhosting is a question that comes up a lot lately.
I don't write blog posts a lot. In fact, let's not count the blog posts that appear as a result of a new podcast episode. It's more likely than not, less than 5.
But I wanted to talk about about the inner workings of Podcast Junkies and the growth of the site over the past couple of months.
Now you won't likely see many posts like this and it's something I've thought long and hard about. One of the reasons I did it is because of inspiration from an old post by Pat Flynn, on his Smart Passive Income blog, titled “Why I’ll Be Using LeadPlayer to Play ALL of My Videos”.
He has a fantastic set of rules that he follows when recommending products, and as I went through the criteria, I felt better about this write up.
- Podcast Junkies uses it on the site
- I must know it well enough to walk people through it
- There has to be a comfort level associating it with my brand
- It must be a unique enough offering
- My audience will enjoy and derive a benefit from it
I can definitely say that all 5 are true in this case.
Where Are We Now
Recently, I transferred hosting responsibilities of my site from Bluehost to the team over at WP Engine. Now, it’s not a decision I made overnight, and was something that I mulled over for a couple of months. WP Engine podcast hosting FTW!
To be honest, it was more of a slow burn. I’d heard about the benefits of a dedicated hosting solution while at the same time, pulling the hair out of head every time I would experience my site slow down to a crawl. It was driving me absolutely crazy.
I figured dedicated website hosting was the way to go.
At times I feel completely overwhelmed with all the things I have on my plate, my 9-to-5 job notwithstanding. Every day that I would look at my website and saw it taking six days (OK maybe not THAT long) to load a freakin’ image, it disappointed me to no end.
I’m always trying to find a balance between maxing out my credit cards and watching every single penny I spend. I tend not to think too much about everything I’ve put into Podcast Junkies so far, because it’s safe to say it's not a huge money maker. But I’m definitely in it for the long haul, and it’s that thought that pushed me to make the decision. In retrospect, it’s so silly to think that I didn’t do this earlier. There’s some saying about “penny wise and pound foolish” floating around in my head as I write this.
As a quick shoutout to my WordPress support team, WP Curve, one of the first things they did when they took over WordPress support for my site was to measure the speed with which the page was loading. Needless to say, their recommendation that a site load in about 5 seconds was something that I took to heart. Especially considering my site was taking over 15 seconds to load! Ouch.
Now, I did look into a couple of other competitors in the dedicated hosting space and even looked into Bluehost’s offer. But I think what really pushed me over into the WP-Engine court was their responsiveness with all of my questions, as I began thinking this through.
Once you visit the site, you’ll notice a chat box appear pretty quickly. I can't guarantee it will always be Stuart, but every time I had a one off question, they were fairly quick with a response.
Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet and move forward. As I looked at the website of WP engine I figured I would get started with the personal plan for $29 a month. As you can see from the pricing plans below, they can easily scale up to meet your site's specific needs. There's even plans for large corporations to move to an enterprise level plan.
I'm always a fan of paying for a year's worth of services if it means I get a break, and in this case the total was $290 for the full year (2 months free). That brings the monthly cost down to $24.16. Keep in mind this might not be for bigger sites, given the 25,000 visits-per-month limit. The next plan up supports 100,000 visits per month. Believe me, that will be a nice problem to have.
The Migration Process is ‘Fantasktic'
As with all things migration-related my biggest concern is how long my site would be down, if at all, and how accurately everything would be transferred over. One of many WP Engine podcast hosting concerns.
As some of you may know, I’m an avid student of productivity and as I began to look at all the things I would need to do to prep my site, I began to get a little anxious. Would I have the time, commitment, and discipline to ensure the migration went off without a hitch? Quite possible, but definitely with it’s risks.
From a previous inquiry I had made earlier to the WP Engine team, I was recommended a service that would help with the migration. It was then that I found out about Fantasktic. I could rave about them all day, but I think the summary from their website accurately describes what they do:
Fantasktic effortlessly migrates your WordPress site to a new host and provides you the data you need to get your new site optimized and online. Submit your site migration in minutes.
This was perfect. Not only did this remove the stress over having to worry about every step in the migration, but for only $100, I could have the Fantasktic team handle the bulk of the heavy lifting.
Now keep in mind, as with all processes related to your website, you’re NEVER going to find something that is completely hands-off. There are some steps that you need to pay close attention to related to the timing of redirecting your domain, but another plus is that the Fantasktic team does an incredibly good job of keeping you informed every step of the way.
A few of their selling points:
- There’s no downtime to your live site.
- They make recommendations on how best to optimize your site.
- Most sites migrate within 48 hours.
All in all, the addition of a Fantasktic-guided migration really went a long way towards putting me at ease.
Back That Thing Up
Once you’re signed up to WP Engine website hosting, you get access to the Dashboard for your particular domain. It provides details around your visit and bandwidth usage. One of the additional great features is the automated daily backup. This is great for when you want to install a plugin, but are concerned that it might have an adverse effect on the site. If anything goes terribly wrong, you can revert to one of the daily backups.
Solid As a Rock
The site up is and running on WP Engine podcast hosting for the past couple of months, as of this blog post. I waited to see if everything lived up to my expectations prior to writing this post and I’m glad to say it has.
Is WP Engine going to be your cheapest hosting option? No, not at all. And if all you’re interested in doing is saving money, start with a very basic Bluehost plan.
But if traffic is picking up you want your audience to have the best experience possible while on your site. I can’t recommend these folks enough.
Look, at the end of the day, it comes down to how important this is for you. I wasn’t happy with my site load time and even though my traffic numbers aren’t yet where I would like them to be, I looked at is as an investment in my growth.
Is it best in class? Not yet. As with all things related to performance, there are always things you can keep on tweaking.
As you can see from my latest speed test, the load time has creeped up above 5 seconds. The great thing about this test is that it will show you a waterfall graph that lists the load time for every single item on your site.
One thing I need to be more cognizant of is my use of PNG vs. JPG for images. Needless to say, PNG definitely results in higher files, which translates into longer load times.
Wrapping up, I have to say I’m very happy with WP Engine. If you have any questions about the experience, don’t hesitate to reach out!
How's your site performing now? Are you on the fence as well? Leave a comment below and be sure to follow up.
I am an affiliate for WP Engine podcast hosting and Fanstasktic. I’ve been thinking about this write up for some time. I’m just so pumped with how my website is now performing and the ease with which I was able to migrate it over. I have no issue with this recommendation.