What Lies Behind the Curtain: WP Engine Hosting, Siteground Hosting and Host Gator Tales…
Choosing a web hosting package for your website is not an easy thing to do. wp engine hosting might sound like a great option, especially when cheap reseller hosting options are everywhere. Whether you’re considering wp engine hosting or any other hosting platform, it’s a complicated process when it comes to understanding the differences in price, in performance and the all-around service that comes with hosting your WordPress website, especially a premium theme such as Avada.
Let’s face it, most people have no idea what they’re actually buying when it comes to web hosting. Regardless of the price point, shared vs VPS hosting, disk space, performance aspects and monthly usage, all of this additional info just adds to the confusion and chaos, requiring either blind faith or in-depth knowledge.
The only thing most people know for sure is that they are getting some form of server space to park their domain name at a certain monthly price. What happens next is what we are constantly reading about cheap WordPress hosting problems… Just Google: “hosting issues”, “hosting hell” or anything similar and you’re in for hours of fun reading!
Hosting resellers need to live up to expectations and deliver on their promises
The point: people have web hosting issues, pretty much all of the time! We know this for a fact, as we constantly scour user groups, online chatter about hosting is monumental. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Avada Facebook user group, the WooCommerce group or any other WordPress thread I read through, hosting is always being talked about.
These last few weeks have been eye-opening here at Whelk. Recent customer queries have provided us with the opportunity to get a sneak peek into the back ends of three different WordPress web hosting environments, including wp engine hosting.
We got to see what lies behind the curtain.
This opened our eyes to some of the web hosting problems people are having. It’s actually a good thing, helping us define what we need to do for, in order to better serve our own Avada theme customers.
Welcome to the wonderful world of web hosting marketing and advertising, where every company is trying to sell you on the merit of “best product” and “best service” that goes with their hosting platform.
Case #1: New Client troubleshooting and assessment
As the title of this post entails, you might be surprised at what lies behind the curtain of some of the best and fastest web hosting platforms on the market. wp engine hosting is renowned as the go-to hosting platform for high end hosting and promotes the fastest web hosting for WordPress sites. wp engine hosting plans seem complete and straightforward, promising everything one could possibly ask for, right?
A new client who’s signed on with us this week, a high-end food manufacturer, first came to us to review their whole online web platform which had site crashes and performance issues. We didn’t expect things in the back end “behind the curtain” to be that bad, after all, they were hosted with one of the fastest web hosting platforms on the market, wpengine.
With back-end access, we assessed the client’s current site and tried to figure out what was going on. What quickly became apparent to us is that no matter who you host with, be it cheap reseller hosting or high end hosting like what’s offered on wpengine plans, your WordPress back-end can still be a total nightmare. That’s when we realized that there’s a total disconnect from what the web hosting platform promises and what your WordPress site’s back-end actually gets. Furthermore, wpengine’s proprietary back-end offers little as to server management, say goodbye to the industry standard cPanel, and hello to almost no server settings what so ever.
Exactly how bad was it behind the curtain? After all, this client was with wpengine hosting, a super host with all of the bells and whistles, right? How about 42 plugins that can’t be updated because the server actually crashes when we attempt to perform such a task.
The sad part is that even though this client is paying for a premium service like wp engine hosting, resource allocations to his website are not being flagged or even addressed by the host. Why isn’t this long time customer at php 7.0 or 7.1, both of which are now quite stable? Not being proactive about your customer’s sites, that’s when you start losing customers…
At this point, I was floored. The magic was gone, the curtain lifted and the wizard was revealed… wp engine hosting was not what I expected it to be.
HTTP ERROR 500
The splash screen you don’t want to see!
Having to call wpengine to reboot the server is one thing, but not being able to update a site’s theme and plugins in the back end is a whole other ball game – no matter if you’re on a shared server or not. We actually spent a couple of hours tweaking what we could on the client’s site/server to enable the updates of the 42 plug-ins. To our dismay, we learned a week later that wpengine reverted the site to its prior version, as in before we’d attempted to allocate additional resources to it. Nice! I’ll let our readers come to their own conclusions on this one.
The truth lies behind the curtain. You may think you’re getting the best from the best, but it’s fundamentally the same thing no matter where you host your WordPress site. HOST MISSION: Get client, Get money, Install site, Forget about it. Repeat with next customer. That seems to be the name of the web hosting game. They simply don’t care about your site and its requirements or performance, they just want to sell hosting, hosting, and more hosting…
If there’s a disconnect between the service expectation from your hosting platform and the actual ones obtained for your hosted site, you as a customer are not getting what you deserve. Support issues are the biggest burden of all hosting companies, just Google any host and a never-ending list of customer complaints come to your screen. If hosting companies were just a little more preoccupied with their actual customer’s sites, maybe the floodgates of “customer dismay” would actually close.
Why can they simply go the extra step, support customers in a friendly way, as in “hey, I see your website needs a bit of TLC, you should do this or that, read these articles, etc.” Wouldn’t that be nice?
Let’s put another recent case on the table: wpengine hosting vs siteground hosting.
Case # 2: Past Client – Avada Theme Website
Another web hosting issue we’ve had to contend with over the last weeks was concerning a past client who had us build an Avada theme website but then decided to host it elsewhere, not at wpengine this time, but at Siteground to be exact. This was to be, yet another opportunity to go behind the curtain!
A year went by since we did this Avada them site, and this customer is now back, needing new creative content added to it. As is usually the case, the client provided us with the current login to his host server. In this case, Siteground. So far so good, we were in…
That’s when the yellow brick road came to an end. Not only was the site hosted on a cheap web hosting WordPress shared platform, plugins, and the Avada theme had not been updated since. The site was still running the exact original install, which had left it many Avada updates behind from the year before. Of course, we first needed to address these back-end issues, but that wasn’t going to be the end of it.
Updating an Avada theme website on shared cheap reseller hosting is not only a slow and unpleasant process, it’s sometimes almost impossible to get done without the server going haywire. Furthermore, providing this customer with creative support on his current hosting platform was going to be the bigger issue.
You see, the time required to do the necessary back-end changes on this super theme site, with the added ‘’man hours’’ involved in waiting for the server to respond was indeed going to be a huge deal. The point to all of this… the customer didn’t want to pay for better hosting but by electing to keep his cheap hosting plan he would ultimately end up paying many extra billable hours on our part. It just didn’t add up. And we’re not even talking about possible security breaches and malware when regular updates are not performed…
The only option on the table, grabbing the existing site’s content, creating a development and temporary platform, a DEV on our Avada tuned VPS platform. getting everything on his Avada website updated to the latest versions. Then providing our customer with all of the required page and content changes as requested. Once done, we’d then provide a .tar archive, a full backup, of this newly updated website back to the client and wish him the best of luck on his shared hosting platform until new changes or updates are again needed. In resumé, this is such a counterintuitive way to go at it, but as they say, the customer is always right – Even when it comes to cheap hosting!
Siteground is indeed the answer to cheap web hosting WordPress sites, but once we got to see behind the curtain, shared hosting is obviously not the answer for a premium Avada theme website.
Taking a bite out of Host Gator hosting…
Case #3: Helping Out With Page Load Issues
On a more personal note, we also run a travel blog under marquestra.com, and as such, we come across many fellow bloggers with ever-growing websites and readerships, something we all hope for as bloggers. Through social platforms, we tend to share a lot, on many different subjects, but rarely do we talk about our hosting platform, that is until someone has a problem with it. In this web hosting case example, the travel blog site in question was running a premium theme on a HostGator shared platform.
Like most high-end themes such as Avada, Divi or Xtheme, it requires additional resources when combined with a bunch of add-on plugins. The fellow blogger’s site was working well regardless of being on a shared server, it was serving pages to the desired audience, maybe not super fast, but it was working. But then all of a sudden, it wasn’t anymore. Page load issues, long wait times between pages, on-screen messages that the page load could not be completed… What was going on?
In this case, it all boiled down to a typical “shared” environmental problem. Just as long as the server you are hosted on, has proper load balancing, as in, everybody on board is getting their fair share of the hosting server, all is good – to a point. Then some new site gets added to the mix and voilà… Chaos.
That’s pretty much what happened this blogger’s site. It started getting bullied by one or more hosted neighbours and problems were becoming apparent.
Let’s be honest, what do you possibly think you can expect to get from a “one cent/month” hosting offer???
Now what? As a customer who has purchased said hosting up front, regardless of the price point or the actual server setup, you just want things to work, after all, you’re paying for this! That’s when you send a support ticket to the hosting company to complain about your page load, your site’s speed, your lack of resources and, of course, letting them know just how frustrating this is to you.
On the other hand, they received the usual response from the hosting biz saying that everything is fine – which translates into — what do you really expect for $6.95$/month? Needless to say, they had two choices, either upgrade to a better hosting package from their current host or move the site altogether to another host promising yet a better solution, which they eventually did.
So, back to the Wizard behind the curtain…
When do you feel your site is performing well enough or running at promised expectations? At which threshold or point in time do you start questioning your web hosting services and what was promised? Unless your site actually crashes, becomes unresponsive or takes forever to load, one usually doesn’t even bother to ask themselves these questions.
When all is good, you’re just seeing the part they want you to see, the movie side of it, you don’t think, to look behind the curtain!
We’ve illustrated three different cases here, all with different web hosting companies, but in essence, all with similar problems. So now that you get that there’s more to it than what meets the eye here are a bunch of extra factors you need to consider.
Let’s explore where this post can take you from here…
Are you on the yellow brick road or not?
A great way to assess your current hosting situation is to use well-known website assessment tools. In order to narrow down potential problems on your site, we’ve provided links that are meant to help you do a simple yet effective diagnostic of your website’s performance. Take these tools for a spin and get to understand the underlying problems your site may have.
Another aspect to consider when performing website testing and benchmarking is your connection speed and, of course, your own computer’s resources. We use Speed Test for connection speed comparisons and we strongly advise closing all running applications, except for your web browser while performing ISP (Internet Service Provider) tests.
Of course, many factors can ultimately impact your site’s performance. Whatever you discover, remember that cheap reseller hosting is probably one of the main causes, but too many plugins can also be a big negative. Then comes image optimization which is yet another speed culprit. In any case, shared hosting has direct consequences for your website and for your audience. When your pages take 16-20 seconds to load, that’s bad news. Not only is that unacceptable, by the time your page actually does load, your potential customer is already elsewhere, meaning not on your site, gone.
The underlying message to this post is quite simple, it doesn’t matter if it’s godaddy web hosting vs WordPress hosting or any other kind of hosting offer, it always boils down to you get what you pay for.
Regardless of price, ask yourself: as a client, am I going to get real customer service, is someone going to take care of me, my site and my needs? And in some premium hosting offers, is “managed” really managed?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that if everything is fine on the front end (the browser side of things) then everything is also great on the back end. Are all my requirements being met? What happens if I need more resources allocated to my site? Can I upgrade? And if so, what does that entail? Am I getting “behind the curtain access” to really see what’s going on?
These are the real questions to ask yourself when shopping for wpengine vs Siteground hosting or any other hosting offer out there. When in doubt, dare to go behind the curtain.
Ask us anything about Avada theme website hosting!
Whatever website hosting question you may have for your existing Avada theme website or a new Avada theme website you’re planning to build, we’re always available. Our Concierge level VPS hosting is specifically tuned for the Avada theme, looking for superior hosting… Check us out!
Avada VPS Hosting by WHELK
At WHELK, we’ve been hosting customers for over 10 years. In fact, most of our Avada Theme customers are hosted on our custom VPS servers which we’ve fine-tuned to deliver Avada content easily, securely and at blazing fast speeds.
What sets us apart? Two words: AVADA KNOWLEDGE.
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I Hope this article helps you get more out of your avada Theme website.
The most valuable lesson you can take from this post is that HOSTING MATTERS when it comes to your Avada Theme website. Have a question that’s still unanswered, Whelk Avada Theme Support can provide you with personalized solutions to your website hosting issues.
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