It has been almost a year since I gave up trying to be frugal about hosting my blog and handed over hosting to WP Engine. I’ve been completely satisfied with the service since then.
Forever, I hosted my own blog, first on my own home-built static HTML system and then on .TEXT. Eventually I moved to WordPress. I ran WordPress on a Windows Server box at home and on a Linux VM on AWS. It was always fun (in a sadistic sort of way) keeping things running, but I quickly grew tired of the tasks involved.
Last December I had a series of spectacular failures caused by posts I wrote getting TechMeme’d, Fireballed, and Slashdotted (do people even read Slashdot anymore?). In case you don’t know getting Fireballed means John Gruber links to your blog. Whenever he does so, the target will get hit with 10s of thousands of hits within minutes.
Someone pointed me at the guys at WP Engine and they helped me move my blog to their platform.
Since then I’ve been Fireballed several more times and performance has stayed fantastic. Where, before, I knew I had been Fireballed because some kind friend would call or text me telling me my blog was down. Now, the only way I can tell is by looking at the spikes in usage in the JetPack stats package WP Engine provides.
I’ve noticed my blog being down once in the past year, and it turns out it was a general Pacific Northwest Internet failure and had nothing to do with WP Engine. Their support system was super responsive and they helped me identify the problem quickly (which resolved itself). I also run with confidence knowing WP Engine is backing things up for me.
There are tons of blogging technologies and platforms out there. You can certainly do it for far cheaper than you can with WP Engine. You might even be able to do it better (I’m not sure how, but it’s possible). I stopped treating running a blog like a toy to play with a long time ago; now I just want it to work, even under load.
I’m a happy customer, and happy to pay a premium for the WP Engine service.
Disclaimer: I was partially motivated to write this post because WP Engine has an affiliates program. At the end of the day, I would never recommend any product or service if I didn’t really believe in.