WP Engine had a fantastic year in 2015, making numerous changes and additions its service, to improve the ease and quality of their customers’ WordPress use. WP Engine has always been a great option for those using WordPress, as it’s specifically tailored to be a hosting service for those using WordPress.
Founded in 2010, by the prolific entrepreneur Jason Cohen, the company has grown to have approximately 40, 000 customers. It has data centers in the US, the UK, and Japan — and the employees in those data centers have been busy over the last year making changes that could make your WordPress experience even better.
We are currently putting WPEngine through its paces, but hope in the very near future to add them as one of our recommended hosting providers. We are impressed!
You will find below a summary of the 10 of the newest changes that we’ve rounded up for 2015. Each summary links to a more detailed post about those changes \ new features so you can find out more (further information\posts coming soon).
1. They Removed Traffic From Overage Calculations
Back in October 2015, WP Engine made some great updates to their overage policy, making sure that their customers are no longer charged for overages based on bot traffic. This change was sparked by customer feedback: many customers raised concerns about how their billable visitors and overages were calculated.
In an announcement on their website, WP Engine said: “We will handle the cost of bot traffic and give you those views for free, so you can measure your site’s success based on human visitors.” This move is welcome, especially as many customers won’t now have to pay overage charges, now that bots aren’t used with other traffic.
2. They Made Securing Your website With SSL Easier
Having an SSL certificate is very important when trying to help your website’s search rankings, and can also increase trust with people visiting your website. So, WP Engine has made two great changes: buying an SSL certificate is now easier, with their WP Engine User Portal, and they have also added the option to buy an SSL certificate to their person plan.
Purchasing an SSL certificate through the WP Engine User Portal means it is automatically configured and installed for you, and if you need any help they’ve also provided a helpful tutorial in the Portal.
You can read more about the changes here.
3. They Launched WP Engine GeoIP
At the start of 2015, WP Engine launched their new WP Engine GeoIP, which allows their users to personalize and serve dynamic web content visitors by their location, and enables them only to show what’s relevant in these visitors' specific location. This means customers can easily redirect customers to content using their language or currency.
This allows WP Engine customers to give their visitors a much better and more relevant experience, and enables them to create targeted content and further their business globally. Initially, just a trial project called Alpha of GeoIP, in the WP Engine Lab, the new feature launched in 2015.
4. The User Portal Had A Makeover
Again in 2015, WP Engine took customer feedback on board and made some serious changes to the way their User Portal looks, with simplified features, improved install navigation and a sleeker overall design. The makeover also means that now the portal works much better on different screen sizes and is more responsive.
The changes also include a way to navigate neatly between all the installs in your account, with these updates meaning it’s far easier to view them all, navigate to them, and make any alterations you need to.
You can read more about the changes here.
5. They Launched WP Engine Search
Another new project in 2015 for WP Engine was their Alpha project for WP Engine Search. This project is powered by Elasticsearch, and offers fast and accurate searching for WP Engine customers; this is great for customers who know providing a good search service will keep visitors on their websites longer.
WP Engine Search builds on the open source Apache Lucene; it offers a full-text search engine, with results sorted by relevance and in real time. It can be added to WP Engine accounts and also comes with autosuggest and fuzzy matching for misspellings.
You can read more about the new WP Engine Search here.
6. Improved website Backups
WP Engine has always provided automatic and on-demand website backups for its customers, and in 2015 they made some real improvements to how the backups work. These include increased security, with User Portal backups now being downloaded over HTTPS and website backups encrypted at the source.
When customers view their backup files, there is now a directory for Uploads, giving a complete snapshot of the website. WP Engine also now stores all backups from EU-based customers in a data center in Ireland, so performance is improved even more.
You can read more about the new backup features here.
7. Migrating A website To WP Engine Now Takes Minutes
Taking your website to WP Engine is now even easier, with their new WP Automated Migration plugin; this means the time and effort spent migrating your website over is eliminated for those moving a WordPress website from on platform to another.
Migration of your website to WP Engine is now very simple: after you’ve got your WP Engine SFTP credentials by email, you can just purchase and install the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin to begin. The length of time taken up by the migration depends on the amount of data being transferred, but this new development is a definite time saver.
8. They Made It Easy To Upgrade WordPress Core With One Click
The One-Click WordPress Core Upgrade option makes it possible for WP Engine customers to update their websites to the latest version of WordPress, with only a click instead of contacting support or waiting for WP Engine to upgrade the website for them.
This feature was launched to coincide with WordPress releasing version 4.3, so their customers could have the upgrade quickly and smoothly. The One-Click WordPress Core Upgrade tool is found in the WP Engine User Portal and allows customers to make upgrades whenever they like. This is also handy for updating a whole website, rather than updating each install manually.
You can find out more about One-Click WordPress Core Upgrades here.
9. PHP 7 Testing Is Available In Mercury Vagrant
WP Engine customers can now test PHP 7 in Mercury Vagrant (HGV) 1.5 to compare its speed with HHVM. The latest version of HGV also includes a toggle feature to allow for comparing PHP 7, PHP 5 and HHVM.
This lets customers check their code functionality and performance; it also makes it possible to ensure code compatibility with PHP 5 once PHP 7 becomes available. Though this isn’t a direct speed comparison to production level servers, it does offer a lot of insight into how your website is working, and will prove a helpful tool for many customers.
You can read more about this feature here.
10. They Made Upgrade Deferral An Option
It is now possible to request to defer a WordPress upgrade for up to 60 days, rather than the website just updating automatically. This means it’s now possible to prepare a website for any WordPress updates if the update affects the content in any way.
This added control over updates makes using WordPress with WP Engine much more stable, and individual installs can have their updates deferred, really putting the control into the hands of WP Engine customers.
It’s been a year of changes and launches for WP Engine, and 2015 has seen many functional, useful changes to the WP Engine experience. For those using WP Engine to host their WordPress website, they might well be excited for what 2016 has to offer. They also reopened their WP Engine Support Garage, bringing together WordPress and data specialists to take customer feedback and provide answers to questions. With these people onboard and all the developments in 2015, it looks like 2016 will be another interesting year for WP Engine.