EBSCO Industries can be found in a wide range of industries and are composed of more 40 different companies worldwide. Previously relying on in-house solutions, EBSCO struggled with maintenance, security and downtime. The WP Engine Digital Experience Platform helped ease various pain points experienced by EBSCO as well as free up time to devote to other projects.
We spoke with Kelli Gettinger, the Manager of Web Development at EBSCO Industries to learn more about their experience with their previous in-house solution and their switch to the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform.
We don't necessarily have the bandwidth or knowledge to constantly make sure our WordPress servers are secure, so WP Engine takes that responsibility off of our plate.
—–Kelli Gettinger, Manager of Web Development
What were your pain points in your previous environment that led you to look at a managed solution?
One of our pain points was that the developers did not have access to the production servers. We couldn’t even FTP a file or upload a plugin without the assistance of our DevOps team. The developers would do the work, send it over to DevOps and ask them to upload it to the server. The whole process would be very time consuming. If the site went down, we’d have to stand over their shoulder to troubleshoot because we didn’t have the access that we needed.
What would you say is the amount of time that you were previously spending troubleshooting problems like that in comparison to the amount of time you're spending now?
When the sites were hosted on our internal network, if one site got too much traffic, it would overwhelm our server and all of our sites would go down. We haven’t seen any of that with WP Engine. Now, we don’t have to wait for someone else when we have troubleshooting issues. We can just open up a chat window and get WP Engine support on it immediately. So, how much time have we saved? I can’t even estimate it. Before, if a DevOps person was not available, we were stuck waiting for them. If I was to guess, before it would could take hours and now it takes close to 30 minutes.
Was EBSCO always on WordPress and WP Engine? What prompted the switch to a dedicated plan on WP Engine?
We have always been on WordPress but we hosted the sites internally. Our DevOps team didn’t have much experience with WordPress and because of that, they struggled to get the necessary security measures in place. The sites became vulnerable to attacks. We decided to move to managed hosting via WP Engine where we knew that would be taken care of.
Did you take precautions to protect against disaster recovery? Did you have a second server setup in case your servers failed?
We did. Sometimes they were load balanced, but often times that wasn’t ideal. We had a primary and secondary server. They were synced every night. If the main server went down, things would roll over to the second server. But that wasn’t consistent and there were errors in this process. So, we would have outages.
How many people used to be a part of the DevOps teams managing this all for you?
There were 3 people. Now, we are able to allocate those resources to other projects within EBSCO.
Whose job was it to keep the WordPress core updated?
At the time, we had 6 developers who were responsible for updating WordPress core and all plugins. This would take about 4 hours a month to update and test our large number of sites. Now that WP Engine updates core for us, we have freed up some developer time to work on other projects.
Were you doing anything when you were hosting internally around DDos mitigation or setting up firewalls, or implementing SSL?
The developers were not responsible for any work that was done on a server level. Something as routine as setting up an SSL certificate was painfully slow. This would require the development team to work with the network team to get unique IP addresses, the business office to purchase the SSL cert, and another team to configure the F5 load balancer and finally the DNS team to point to the new IP addresses. There were so many moving parts and dependencies that it could take up to 3 months to complete.
It sounds like the move to managed alleviated some of the pain points you had?
Yes! The move to WP Engine has made everything easier. We are fully functional team that can develop freely without having to depend on so many other teams. We no longer have to worry about downtime. Wherever I am, I can initiate a chat and have WP Engine’s support team look at something immediately
What would you say is your primary goal of your website? What to you is the pain point you were really trying to mitigate?
We have 22 sites that are ad-driven. If those are down, we miss a lot of revenue for paid ad spots. The rest of our sites are informational and it’s just an annoyance if they’re down. In the past, when security breaches would happen, we would have work with DevOps to chase our tail and figure out how it happened. That’s not something we deal with anymore. We don’t necessarily have the bandwidth or knowledge to constantly make sure our WordPress servers are secure, so WP Engine takes that responsibility off our plate.