A few years ago I was enticed by the promise of surround sound movies and a richer music experience, so I decided the time had come to build a home theater system. I did the research, waited for great deals, bought entirely too much speaker wire, and went about setting everything up. After connecting all the cables, I sat down to enjoy a new enhanced movie watching experience. The only issue was I couldn’t get the movie to actually show up on the TV.

I had no idea how to fix this thing, it was a literal black box

Now when something is broken, I get in a mood where I will stubbornly troubleshoot until I know exactly what is wrong. It is a blessing and a curse. So I set everything up again from scratch, I read the 100 page manual for the receiver, I talked to tech support, I read online forums, I adjusted every setting, yet nothing fixed the problem. Eventually, I found a workaround that required a bunch of splitters, dongles, and frustration.

An example of some light reading I used to try to get my home theater working. It only was useful to help get to sleep.

Three years later, I was moving and had to set up the speaker system again. As I was lifting the receiver out of the moving box, I heard a rattle. Not like a snake or a baby toy but something metallic inside the receiver. I got my screwdriver and took that black box apart. It turns out that there was one little connector flopping around in there like a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube-man.

This little jerk here turned out to be the root cause

I clicked it into place and everything worked like a charm. If I had only had visibility into that literal black box from the start it would have saved me hours and even years of frustrated troubleshooting.

So what does this have to do with WordPress?

Well, chances are if you build or maintain websites, you’ve gotten this call (it always feels like it’s in the middle of the night), “The site’s down, go fix it.” So you drag yourself out of bed and try to get to the bottom of the issue. This can often take hours to identify and resolve the problem. As you’re running tests and reviewing error logs, you just wish there was a fast and simple way to determine what the exact issue is. You want a way to open up that stereo receiver so you can see inside the black box and quickly find the root cause. If you just had the visibility you could get back to bed…

Introducing Application Performance monitoring

To give development and IT operations teams the visibility they need to build and maintain great WordPress digital experiences, we are excited to announce the availability of Application Performance Monitoring (APM).

WP Engine has partnered with New Relic, leaders in Digital Intelligence, to include New Relic APM Pro as part of a new Application Performance solution. Application Performance provides code-level visibility to help teams troubleshoot faster, optimize their WordPress experiences, and increase development agility.

This visibility is key for giving your teams increased agility and productivity. You can reduce time to market by quickly identifying issues with themes, plugins, and APIs. Discover the root cause of site issues by drilling down into slow queries, transaction traces, and errors. It gives your teams the actionable data they need to keep your sites fast and stable.

Click here to learn more about APM and be sure to sign up for our upcoming webinar.

Application Performance is available for Premium and Enterprise plans at an additional costContact us to get started.

Scott Amerman is a Product Marketer at WP Engine. He loves making technical topics approachable, painting along with Bob Ross, and brewing cider.