I’ve moved this blog from blogging platform to blogging platform over the years. Each time my primary motivation for moving was to learn a new technology. Last year I moved from Community Server, hosted on my own Windows Server box in my home to WordPress running on a Linux VM hosted on Amazon AWS. I made this change to force myself to learn PHP and to get more experience using Linux.
I love learning by doing, and it turns out that the move to WordPress on Linux forced me to “do” a hell of a lot. Beyond the simple stuff like dealing with managing instances on AWS and SSH tunneling, I quickly discovered how to setup and manage caching and CDN: When I left Microsoft last summer my announcement hit Techmeme and my blog was overwhelmed. I had to scramble to figure out how to enable caching and CDN in the course of about an hour!
And that setup worked pretty well through the fall, but fairly regularly WordPress would go down with a “Cannot connect to database” error. This would happen seemingly randomly, but also whenever I posted and the blog got moderately high traffic. I knew I needed to do something about it…
Over Christmas break I wrote my “superior” post which hit the top of Techmeme all day. I was on vacation with my family when I wrote that post and missed out an entire afternoon playing on the beach because I was fighting to keep cek.log alive with all the traffic.
Enough. I had learned all I was going to learn from the experiment of hosting the blog myself.
Someone suggested I look at www.wpengine.com.
I did and about 4 hours later the people at WP Engine had moved my blog from my AWS instance to their hosting service (they took care of ALL the dirty work). We had a few hiccups, but it was clear everything was faster and it has been reliable over the past few weeks.
There are certainly cheaper ways to host WordPress and there are blogging platforms can scale better than WordPress. I like WordPress’s features and community of add-ins. WordPress.com hosting is too restrictive for me.
Three cheers for WP Engine. I’m a fan.