> Problems we solve
Hosted WP like WP Engine isn’t cutting it anymore
Using a high-volume WordPress hoster like WPEngine or WordPress.com can be great for regular standard “vanilla” type deployments at an attractive price point. However, as you get into higher volumes or have custom plugins or PHP integration needs, you may be hitting into their limitations. There are also disadvantages to an outsourced-hosting model as you can’t host your own site on your own equipment, dedicated server, AWS, or any other preferred hosting locations.
Shared hosting (CPanel/Plesk style) isn’t performing
For budget hosting, many providers use the popular CPanel or Plesk server hosting software to cram dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of websites onto a single server. Mass over-subscription is very common to drive profitability. Most days this works okay, but there are downsides. For starters, these types of servers are designed to commoditize the hosting aspect and treat every website the same. For example, typically they only run a certain version (normally old) of PHP and MySQL. If one website gets hacked, often your site is also vulnerable! If somebody else’s website gets very busy with a ton of traffic or complex database queries, that will affect your website as well due to the shared model. It’s like a teacher in a classroom… one student with a bad attitude ruins it for everyone!
This type of hosting is very popular for web marketing agencies, as it is an easy source of additional revenue. They don’t need any server administrator or Linux expert on staff, as for the most part, Cpanel/Plesk “just work”. The agencies are marketing experts, not IT or Server Performance experts. Most of their clients are low-usage which is OK, but as mentioned, if you are scaling you will bump into their upper limits.
Change management – you’ve been bitten too many times by bugs
A common amateur problem is having a SINGLE website which is not only customer-facing, but also where testing, experimentation, plugin changes, and major upgrades are done. This causes major frustration with a wide variety of issues. There might be total downtime because WordPress completely won’t run, or generates broken HTML that doesn’t load images, for example. Or, the SEO plugins might get confused in a way that’s not obvious when you look at the site, but will heavily impact your Google search rankings some number of weeks/months down the road once your context is re-indexed. Or, website contact forms will silently start “eating” form submissions due to a mail setting mis-configuration. Or, internal links get broken due to sub-domain substitution snafus.
No control or visibility into the server backend
For some people, having visibility and total control of all IT assets and data is critical. Having somebody else manage it as a blackbox doesn’t align with your way of doing things. You really want SSH access, proper monitoring, to have control of the Disaster Recovery plan and more.
> How Crafty Penguins solves these pain points
In depth knowledge of your website and what you’re trying to accomplish
Our clients are not nameless subscription numbers in our CRM. We get to know your team, your business, objectives, and a deep understanding of your WordPress website and the PHP code behind it. It’s like a one-on-one tutor, compared to a teacher with 100 students.
Customized servers to meet the unique needs of your site
As mentioned in one of our blog posts about improving WordPress performance, there are a variety of ways of deploying WordPress. It really depends on your needs. This might be as small as a single Docker container, or scaling up to a more sophisticated setup with multiple bare-metal servers with load-balancers to spread traffic. There are tricks like server-side caching and CDNs to improve site performance. While we do recommend starting simple and to be pragmatic, yet we are happy to provide recommendations for a more enterprise-grade setup as required.
For many applications, containerization with technologies like Docker is a great way to solve the age-old “But, it worked for me” complaint.
Proactive monthly management
This is fundamental to a happy and reliable Linux server. We include the following components in our Proactive packages. We call our our packages “TLC” – Technology Loving Care, or Tender Loving Care if you will.
- Regular health checks, by humans who care
- Best practice reviews
- Routine software updates
- Backup system monitoring, maintenance and verification
- Regular IT checkins by one of our Client Solution Managers to ensure we are on the same page
- Access to our team via email, phone, Slack, and of course ticket portal
Practical optimization for optimal user experience and SEO ranking, resulting in more leads
We work with your team to improve your website page load times, as described in detail in this blog post.
Setup a dedicated development version of your website
We recommend setting up dedicated development (often called testing or staging) version of your website. This might start as a clone of your main website. From time to time, we can re-copy your production site over development so that development has the latest production blog posts and so forth. We can also flip the development site over to production for you.
All plugin and WordPress upgrades should first be done on the development site, to reduce the reduce the risk of breaking your main website!
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