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TL;DR: Create an account with WPEngine.
Finding the right hosting service for your website can be a tricky overwhelming experience.
Your host is the company who serves your store up to your customers.
They are often very cheap, unreliable, oversubscribed and have terrible support.
Since they run to such a tight budget, things will break, nobody is around to fix them, and you’ll lose valuable time, data, and sales. Bad bad bad. If you’re going to cheap out, here is not where to do it.
The other side of the spectrum is a dedicated server to run your store. The process is expensive and time consuming, and fraught with danger (who’s going to install the security patches?)
What do we mean by trade off?
You can host your WooCommerce store on a server costing from $0 to $1000/month.
The welcome email will give you some FTP details and you’re on your way.
We’ve settled on WPEngine as a comfortable trade-off between risk and cost, configuration and control.
WPEngine comes with sensible defaults out of the box for WordPress and WooCommerce, meaning you stand on the shoulders of their dedicated engineers. We’ve laid out some detail below about the incredible functionality you get out-of-the-box with WPEngine.
- They have daily automated backups and one-click full restore, which means a bad plugin or coding error is one click away from undone.
- All plans come with a staging area, where you can play with new plugins and test new designs without affecting your live (money making) store.
- Serious security updates and WordPress core updates are done automatically with no input from you. If an insecure WordPress plugin is found, WPEngine disable it until a secure patch is released.
- Aggressive caching is installed out of the box (what is caching?) so most of your visitors will receive instant responses.
- They have an uptime SLA of 99.95%, and you can easily check their recent up-time (usually 100%)
Of course, there’s some downsides too.
Caching is regularly a pain (when making changes)
The more content on your site that is cached, the quicker everybody experiences the site.
They aggressively cache by default which can cause issues with less common plugins or custom code. As WPEngine slowly take over, we find this occurring less and less.
The good news is, it takes all of 5 minutes to jump onto live chat and say ‘hey guys, can you please uncache page XYZ’. They do it all day.
Their outgoing email is restrictive.
We’ve had issues with this in the past. To avoid being used as a spam relay, wpengine has the usual email ports (25, 587) completely closed off. If you’ve not come across this before, it’s a massive pain!
This is a blessing in disguise. Use an external email provider (such as PostMark) to send your transactional email, and keep it separate to your marketing email (MailChimp) and your internal/support email.
This way, you can track opens, engagement, spam complaints, without affecting your marketing metrics and support channels.
Most of the discussion in this book will work fine with another provider. But take it from us, just go with WPEngine.