The capabilities of WP Engine’s digital experience platform are extensive. Whether you are on a personal plan or enterprise plan, there are numerous tips and tricks that can help you accelerate your online growth and time to market as a developer or agency.
In a recent webinar, WP Engine’s Partner Operations Manager Tony Gilharry walked us through some tips and tricks WP Engine offers to help optimize your site. Read on to get a recap on how to dive under the hood of your WP Engine account and create bigger, faster, safer WordPress experiences that can help grow your business.
WP Engine’s Power Tools
Upon creating an account with WP Engine, you’ll have a WordPress site that’s immediately ready to use — no configuration necessary. An install includes a set of WordPress core files and a database customized for the WP Engine environment. You can log in and begin to adjust the look and feel of your site right away. The tools outlined below will help you with your existing site.
Let’s start by looking at some of the most impressive features available on the WP Engine platform.
1. WP Engine Automated Migration
The Migration Plugin Tool allows you to easily migrate your WordPress site to WP Engine from any other host. With very minimal technical knowledge needed, you can easily migrate your site in mere minutes. Simply enter the credentials and let the tool do the rest.
2. Staging Sites
What if you have an existing site and you are looking to test some things out? A staging site is a clone of your live website and therefore is a great option for trying out changes before going live.
Staging sites enable you to test any changes or major new features in a private or password protected environment. It provides you with an opportunity to catch errors or bugs without putting your live site at risk. Test plugins, themes, and code without worry. You can pick and choose specifics to copy from live into staging or vice versa without impacting your public-facing site.
3. Copy Site
Imagine you’re a developer looking to create more sites. For instance, you made a great site and now you want to replicate it for your clients. With WP Engine’s Copy Site tool you can copy a site that you’ve already completed rather than build it all again from scratch. Swap out content and the basic structure ready to go for another use!
4. Billing Transfer
What if you are a developer or an agency building a website for a friend or client? It’s a serious pain to go and get their credit card info, go get them to sign up etc. So, we created a feature called Billing Transfer.
Developers can create all their sites directly within the WP Engine User Portal. The need to manage your client’s hosting account is now eliminated. Rather, it’s completed with the ability for developers to transfer the site to their client so they can simply focus on creating content.
Clients can also receive a temporary URL if they want to get a preview of the site. If they like the site, they can buy an account, the site is transferred to them, and they handle all the billing.
5. Support from WordPress Experts
One of the most admirable aspects of the WP Engine platform is the contribution we make to the WordPress community. Through our support team you’ll be equipped to get all of your WordPress technical questions answered and the support your business needs in no time. It’s no wonder then that we’ve won a Stevie Award for the top Customer Service Department year after year.
Here are just a few ways our expertise touches the WordPress community:
6. WordPress Core Patching
Customer-inspired, we always have your back. Whether it be automatic security updates to updating your installs automatically, we aim to provide you with the best, most secure, online experience possible.
While customers can opt to defer updates in their WordPress dashboard, our system will send out two notices (seven days and four hours prior) before the update starts.
7. Managed Security
Once you come over to the WP Engine platform, security is taken care of. We protect you from sophisticated exploits, separate our customers at the kernel level, and provide a highly secure WordPress experience for customers at every level. We identify attacks before they happen.
It’s important to note though that security isn’t a feature at WP Engine, it’s a mindset. While we provide a number of security features to harden the security of your WordPress site, you as the end user must also be vigilant about security. Using strong passwords, giving the right user permissions, and not installing outdated plugins are just a few things you can do to make your WordPress site more secure.
8. Immediate Disaster Recovery
We want to make sure all your hard work stays available to all your customers no matter the situation. Disaster recovery refers to the entire process of delivering fast recovery to information systems in the event of a disaster or emergency.
We continuously fine-tune both the developer, front-end consumer experience with our deepest investment in R&D. We are very proud to say, through our interconnected network, we are figuring out how to minimize interruptions both internally and externally.
We are also limiting the extent of the destruction and preventing data loss in our disaster recovery plan. We minimize the financial or global impact of any interruption whatsoever and we want to establish alternate means of operation in advance. We train our personnel with emergency procedures and we also provide smooth and rapid restoration services.
9. Offsite Backups
Think of backups as an insurance policy: you hope you never need them but when you do, you are really glad they are there!
In addition to on-demand backups, WP Engine automatically conducts daily backups to ensure your data is never lost. Both on demand and daily backups are stored in separate geographical locations from your site for ultimate peace of mind.
All of our backups include file system data, a database snapshot, and your media library. We ensure you have everything you need to get up and running if your primary data happens to become unavailable.
10. Page Performance
So far we have discussed the foundation of the WP Engine digital experience platform. We’ve taken it a step further recently with a new suite of intelligence products to help you monitor and measure various aspects of site performance.
Page Performance is the first web speed performance tool integrated into the user dashboard at WP Engine to give our customers insight to quickly and dramatically improve the speed and performance of their site.
It allows you to measure page render times and conduct improvements based on expert recommendations. Just a one second time delay results in seven percent fewer conversions — something that can be detrimental to your bottom line. In addition, you can set scheduled automated tests to see if your site has improved over time. This can also help you determine if a new addition to your site, like a plugin, has detracted from site performance at all.
11. Content Performance
Our newly released tool, Content Performance, integrates data from Google Analytics and optimizes it for WordPress. This super exciting new feature will help marketers, publishers, business owners and more to better understand how their content is performing.
Currently available to WP Engine customers on a Business plan and up, Content Performance gives you insight into what content is performing the best and worst among real users.
The foundation of the entire WP Engine platform is really intended for scale. If you’ve ever used a rideshare such as Uber you might be aware that there are cool features in certain locations such as Uber Helicopter in NYC or Uber Boat in Miami. That’s personalization. Geo IP is a tool offered by WP Engine that brings this type of functionality to your WordPress site.
Geo IP creates a personal user experience that provides personalization by showing content specifically useful to visitors in a certain location. That way you can immediately redirect visitors to content in their language.
Or, if you’re an e-commerce website, maybe you just want to display products or services in their currency. You can display geographically relevant content or hide irrelevant content.
The best part of this plugin is that you don’t have to code this into your site, we have already integrated it for you. Geo IP is a free feature for any WP Engine customer with a Business plan or above.
Deciding Between Plans
When you’re choosing a personal, professional, business or premium plan via our plans page, you’ll find that we’ve created a universal combination of installs, visitors, and local storage paired with free SSL certificates and room for traffic spikes. We make sure your site stays online while your traffic surges with new visitors.
Premium plans are great for organizations who are resource isolation conscious or are thinking about performance scalability and those are key priorities in their strategic plans.
Another step up from that, we have our enterprise clusters. This plan offers an incredible amount of performance and strong redundancy while being able to handle extremely large traffic needs. WP Engine offers the top local performance and power and these configurations are capable of serving upwards of 50 million visitors a month, they are built on high performance, load balanced cloud architecture.
We are talking about what we consider self-service (up to 400,000 visitors) but if you do believe that your site has the potential of going over 400,000 visitors or you just want to make sure your site has the highest up time and availability, we have the right enterprise plans for you. We are here to scale with you!
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Here are some questions that were asked during the webinar, addressed by Tony Gilharry.
Can you test PHP 7 on a staging site?
At this time we have a method of testing PHP but it wouldn’t be directly on the staging site. We would ask that you reach out to our account management team. It is a pretty technical problem with multiple solutions. You could be in a position to early round test PHP and then that is really easy to do or we might have to put you on a system that is PHP compatible but it wouldn’t necessarily be a switch to turn on in the staging site.
Does staging a site require a subdomain?
The cool thing about the staging site is that we have created a temporary URL for you so we do have a subdomain. It would be completely segmented. It’s a copy and then virtually segmented so changes that you make on your staging does not impact your production and vice versa.
When using Content Performance, do I need to create a new Google Analytics account or can I use my old?
One of the benefits is that we want to use the data that we already have. We want you to have your existing data from Google Analytics and then show you how to authenticate it using an access key.
Does WP Engine allow FTP access?
We don’t do FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access but we take it a step up and do SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) access. Security is top of mind for WP Engine. So yes, you can use FTP but we add the S and give you a port number that makes it even more secure.
Does Content Performance work with WooCommerce or e-commerce in general?
When we are talking about anything that goes into your Google Analytics, that data will be able to pull into page performance. There are no issues with integration from any e-commerce platform.
For more in-depth, engaging questions and answers check out the full webinar here!