Choosing A Managed WordPress Hosting Solution – ZippyKid vs. WPEngine

This year I decided it was time to move my blog and a few other blogs that we operate to a managed WordPress hosting solution. Managed means that the hosting provider handles everything from installation to security and updates. I currently have two different sysadmins managing my sites and WordPress is where they end up spending a bulk of their time. Having people do things for your is great, but it also means you have to take some of your time to manage people. Since I am constantly trying to simplify and find great people or companies to do the tactical day-to-day a managed WordPress solution seemed like the perfect fit.

Along with taking saving me time and resources, two solutions were recommended for me based on performance as well. Since Google has already publicly said that they factor site speed into their ranking algorithm this is an increasingly important topic. So I decided to dive in and try WPEngine to start.

WPEngine has a great site and definitely some very happy customers. I decided to give it a shot and signed-up for an account and requested to have my blog moved over to their platform. In order to request this move I had to fill-out a long form revealing many of my usernames and passwords to things like my current hosting account, etc. I told them I was not comfortable putting in my registrar login information and would instead be happy to change the DNS myself once the migration had taken place.

A day went by and suddenly I received an email from a completely different company. This company claimed to be contracted by WPEngine and said that they would be handling the migration from here. I went to this company’s website and didn’t feel quite as comfortable as I had with WPEngine but was willing to go along with it. Next I received an email with an invite to a BasecampHQ thread to discuss the migration. So I created a BasecampHQ account and viewed the message. Now this completely different company was asking me for all the sensitive information that I just gave to WPEngine. This was confusing, if WPEngine isn’t using the data, why the heck did I just give them all of my sensitive login information?

At this point I decided I just didn’t feel too comfortable so I changed all my passwords and decided to call support. This is what I love about all the services I use be it Go Daddy, Afternic, Hostgator, etc. there is always someone I can talk to when there’s a problem. In the case of Go Daddy and Afternic it’s always an expert that knows me personally, this is fantastic. With Hostgator it is rarely someone who knows me and about 70% of the time it is someone who is helpful, which isn’t bad, but it’s not fantastic.

The phone rang and then I hit a voicemail, it indicated that there was no phone support and I would have to use online support. So I went to the website and submitted a support ticket. A couple of days went by and I didn’t hear anything back so I filed another support ticket. A few more days went by still nothing back. So at this point I tried sending an email to their support email address (rather than doing it through their site) and was finally able to reach someone in support. I decided to close my account, this was not the experience I was looking for and while I’m sure it will improve over time, as a customer this process was time-intensive, a bit intrusive, and in the end a major letdown since I couldn’t just have a simple phone conversation with someone to sort this out.

Still, I’m a big fan of the Lean Startup approach and the idea of build, measure, learn. From what I can see WPEngine seems like a very cool group of people that is really looking to disrupt the space and do something big. I hope they see what I am writing only as a positive for them to know where they could improve. If there was a seamless migration process and just basic phone support I would still be a customer. I am confident that in time these guys will nail it and when they do I want to see it in action!

The second option I was looking at is ZippyKid which happens to be the same service that my friend Michael from DomainSherpa uses for his blog. ZippyKid is also a managed WordPress hosting solution and also prided itself on performance just like WPEngine.

The first thing I did when I went to the ZippyKid site was to call them on the phone. About ten seconds later I was talking to the founder of the company, very cool! I was able to pick his brain and learn more about what they had to offer. After spending some time on the phone with Vid I decided to sign-up for an account. I put in a migration request and Kai was quick to respond and get things started. The entire time I was dealing with one person and he made the process simple and incredibly efficient. I didn’t have to login to a million different systems and before I knew it my blog had been migrated.

Once my site had switched over to the ZippyKid servers the first thing I noticed was the speed, my blog was the fastest I had ever seen it. I also felt some real peace of mind knowing that there was a company focused on keeping my site secure, updated, etc. Next I decided to add a few more of my blogs over to the platform, setting each up didn’t even involve logging-into anything. All I had to do was send one email to Kai and it was all done for me. I have eight sites on there now and each one took me under 20 seconds to setup since all I had to do was send one email to someone I now know and trust.

So far my experience with ZippyKid has been great and I know that if I have a question, the CEO is just a phone call away.

Please don’t take this post as any insult to WPEngine, like I said I still think WPEngine could become a great service and with a few tweaks it could be a very worthy competitor to ZippyKid. As it stands now I think that ZippyKid has perfected the model and made it incredibly simple and put a major focus on customer service, and that should always be #1 in my book.

 

{ 52 comments… add one }

  • Vid Luther June 13, 2012, 7:54 pm

    Morgan,
    Thank you so much for the kind words. I really appreciate your opinion and thoughts on the on boarding process. I’m glad we were able to impress you, and I hope to be able to do so with many more customers.

    Jason the co-founder of WPEngine and I talk a lot as well, I’m confident that they’ll have the process sorted out sooner than later.

    Reply
  • Avraham June 13, 2012, 10:11 pm

    I currently manage closed to 20 blogs. Just too expensive. sorry.

    Reply
  • Casey June 13, 2012, 11:39 pm

    How does it stack up against page.ly? They’re solid and worth checking out if you haven’t already.

    Reply
  • Twerg June 13, 2012, 11:50 pm

    Ya i found ZippyKid great too and had the exact same experience with migration. Just amazing! Also the site speeds increased manifold for me too.

    But again i think the pricing is a bit too much for me considering the number of WP sites i own. It would be cheaper for me to get a dedicated VPS or cloud for my sites setup.

    But again you are paying for convenience and peace of mind at ZippyKid. I wish them all the best and hopefully might return to them in the future.

    Reply
  • Ben Metcalfe June 14, 2012, 6:21 am

    Hi Morgan, I’m one of the founders of WP Engine and wanted to respond personally to your post.

    First and foremost I’m incredibly disappointed to learn of your experience with WP Engine and want to apologize for falling short of your expectations. I would like to take the opportunity to address a few of your points, but nevertheless the overall experience you have outlined is certainly not representative of the premium service we aim offer.

    It is true that we do use a 3rd party to handle migrations – the shear volume of new clients we have joining on a daily basis means we can no longer perform this service within the company in a reasonable turn-around time. While it is true that using a 3rd party service does involve passing your credentials to them, we have privacy and security agreements in place with them and are confident in the integrity of their service.

    We always suggest that you change your current WordPress installation to “one-off” type passwords that you don’t use anywhere else, and that you change your password to something unique and secure post-install. This should mitigate further any perceived risk or concern.

    The migration company we use, Website Movers, (as the name suggests) only performs website migrations and so they are geared up to ensure that user credentials and other private data is kept secure. I would also point out that there are many examples of 3rd parties having secured access to your private data under strict agreement – such as your bank which may out-source call center duties to a 3rd party company which in turn technically has access to your bank account details. (We also provide self-migration tutorials for those who wish to perform the migration themselves.)

    While BaseCamp is an excellent project management tool for handling the inter-personal communication between customer and vendor, I do accept it may be jarring or feel very disconnected from the original WP Engine experience you signed up. We are constantly reviewing the best way the migration vendor interacts with customers and are open to suggestions for alternatives.

    On the matter of technical support, it is true that we do not offer phone support on our Personal and Professional level accounts, other than ’emergency’ “site down” type requests. This is because our turn-around of tickets is fast and often faster than if we had a call center with queued calls waiting to talk to the next available operator.

    “So I went to the website and submitted a support ticket. A couple of days went by and I didn’t hear anything back so I filed another support ticket. A few more days went by still nothing back. So at this point I tried sending an email to their support email address”

    We direct all support requests to support@wpengine.com, and of the two support tickets I can find in our support system that you created:

    #29191 was created on May 07, 2012 03:08 pm and answered by Alexander 3:13 pm
    #30400 was created on May 15, 2012 08:03 am and answered by Leandrew 08:35 am

    (all times CST -6)

    Any report of support tickets going unanswered is concerning and unacceptable, however, other than the two tickets above – that were both answered within our normal SLA – I can’t find any other tickets you created. I don’t believe we received any other prior support requests from you, which is why you didn’t receive a response. It would be awesome if you could let me know where you submitted them/more details so I can follow up (and track them down if they exist somewhere). Maybe we have a broken url somewhere or there is a miss-communication on how to submit – I don’t know until I receive more information.

    ZippyKid is an awesome choice, and while I’m disappointed we are not ultimately hosting your site, I’m still glad that you have landed at one of the Managed WordPress Providers that provide a great service. I’m incredibly disappointed that this time around we were not able to live up to the level of service that we aim to provide and our customers demand of us – however, please let me know personally if there is anything we can do to get a second opportunity.

    My email address is ben@ our domain.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 14, 2012, 12:55 pm

      Thanks for your very thoughtful comment @Ben – this means a lot. Like I said, it does sound like a great company and let’s definitely keep in touch so I can follow-along with each iteration.

      Taking the time to respond like you did here shows a lot about the dedication and passion you have for the business. As a fellow entrepreneur I commend you on this and look forward to hopefully grabbing a beer together to continue the discussion at the next startup event we’re both attending!

      Reply
  • Poor Uncle June 14, 2012, 6:46 am

    @Morgan
    So you drop Kai an email and your site was moved?
    How do you know what info they needed? The process still seem pretty manual and exposing you the customer to your user id and password especially via an email.

    Reply
  • Vid Luther June 14, 2012, 12:12 pm

    @poor uncle

    The way the migrations work is that the customer gets a secure link to fill out migration information for their website. Only ZippyKid employees have access to it, and we work off the system to handle the migration.

    We never ask for passwords over email.

    Reply
  • Poor Uncle June 14, 2012, 1:08 pm

    @Vid
    Thanks for the clarification.
    What would be a better solution is if you have a tool that points to the customer’s hosting account, when execute allow your employee to access the customer’s hosting account without the employee knowing what’s the user id or password.

    Morgan Linton is a $100k enterprise…you can never be too careful. 🙂

    Reply
  • Vid Luther June 14, 2012, 1:12 pm

    @poor uncle
    I agree, we can never be too careful, and I’d love to have some sort of automated migration assistant that works really really well. In a past life I spent a lot of time researching and working with federated identity providers, SAML, and the project liberty initiative. It’s just hard to find good/reliable tools that are also user friendly and implemented properly.

    We are working on some tools to make build “tunnels” from one WordPress install to ours, where we never see any username/passwords.. but it’s not ready yet, and I don’t want to experiment on a $100k enterprise :).

    Reply
  • John Byrne August 2, 2012, 9:23 am

    My website is broken after migrating it, exactly as I WPEngine.com’s own tutorials explained. When I wrote for help, I got a canned boilerplate email reply and no service. When I requested a second time, I got the same insulting letter. Then, after pointing this out to them, I got a snide email basically telling me to fix it myself as it wasn’t a server issue or anything to do with caching. So, if you are using WordPress, and you are like me: desperate to find some host that will actually help you: WPEngine.com is NOT the company to use. I see Ben’s reply above. He is putting a nice face on a set-up that is typical of today’s business model: BS. I have lost days and have an unhappy golf course owner because this company doesn’t do what they say they will. In fact, their core business, which is to help you run blogs on their hosting servers, wouldn’t even allow me to install another WP, after I paid for 10! When I, again, wrote yet another support ticket, they told me they saw the problem too, and were on it. Well, frankly, given that they are experts in WP, and they are selling WP instals on their computers, you’d think a dummy like me would NOT have to point out that their own service wasn’t working. I am furious with this company, and must now search all over again for another solution, after losing days and days of my life.

    Reply
  • Ben Metcalfe August 3, 2012, 2:34 pm

    @John Byrne I’m sorry to hear you are furious with WP Engine, and took an opportunity to look through your support tickets to better understand the underlying issue.

    From the tickets I can see that the source of your issues was related to the theme itself (perhaps in the way it was migrated or a difference in configuration settings between your old host and us?).

    As was communicated by our Head of Support when you escalated, WP Engine cannot and does not provide technical support for anything related the customer’s theme. In a previous ticket it was communicated that your theme was calling on a number of external files that you had not uploaded to your account. From what I can see you didn’t rectify that, but if themes cannot call in dependency files they often fail to render.

    “I have lost days and have an unhappy golf course owner because this company doesn’t do what they say they will. “

    … and we’ve never claimed to do that either. I doubt any web host can supply support a 3rd party theme they didn’t help build We even try to go the extra mile and support many 3rd party plugins (that we didn’t build) but themes are so different and unique it’s impossible for us.

    I’m incredibly sorry, John, that you were under the impression that we did provide technical support to own theme. If there is something that communicated otherwise, please let me know so that I can rectify.

    I’m sorry that WP Engine didn’t work out for you, and I’m mindful of your frustrations, but I don’t believe we have under-delivered on our promises . We simply have not been able to match your own expectation that we would support and debug your own themes.

    John: I also have to ask, given this post was published in June 13th, and the last comment was June 14, I’m curious as to why you decided to express this here?

    If you would like to discuss this further, please let me know.

    Best wishes, Ben

    Reply
  • Ben Metcalfe August 3, 2012, 2:50 pm

    BTW, @John Byrne, it turns out my response above is no different to the one my employee Austin independently left you on another blog, where you also left the same comment. See http://fyre.it/1i9l

    While you are of course free to leave comments wherever you like on the Internet, I’m really sad that you are so frustrated with WP Engine that you want to take your no-doubt-busy time leaving these comments across the Internet. Why don’t we get on the phone and lets have a chat to resolve this?

    Bests, Ben

    Reply
  • John Byrne August 3, 2012, 6:35 pm

    Ben: I am absolutely amazed that you are here on sites like this spending your energy protecting the huge volume of new customers that are flowing in, rather than just taking care of business, and EX CUSTOMERS LIKE ME.

    Here is why I originally chose your company, and why I think you and your marketing and aggressive affiliate program are grabbing unsuspecting people like me as customers, knowing full well that even a trial of your service involves and financial and emotional commitment.

    This copy is taken right from your own WPEngine.com website, and as a writer/publisher myself, I don’t read between lines. I am very literal, and your own ad copy is too:

    “Great support? Many hosting companies claim this. But when you’re hosting WordPress, you need specific support. If a plugin breaks, or a theme file doesn’t work, and you’re hosted with a typical hosting company, they’ll throw up their hands and say “Not responsible! We just provide the server and the bandwidth, buddy.”

    Not so at WP Engine. Our staff consists entirely of WordPress experts, so we can help you track down and troubleshoot WordPress issues.”

    Well, Ben. That is why people like me are becoming your customers. But then, when you site here right now and claim I was expecting more than what you offer, when it is clear that what you offer is NOT WHAT YOU DELIVER, then yes, it is infuriating for a small one-man band such as myself, to have my time abused by lies and false claims.

    I am on this site, and by the way I give credit to its owner, because I was searching for a replacement hosting company so I could get away from yours. I found this, and several other sites where people are saying WPEngine is so stellar. Well, not everyone feels that way, and if you have the time to fence it out in public, and make yourself look worse, I am more than happy to throw down the gloves.

    Reply
  • Pashmina August 11, 2012, 8:48 am

    This review kind of mirrors my experience with WP Engine vs. ZippyKid.

    As of this comment, I think WP Engine still needs to work out issues in their Customer Service process. I wasn’t thrilled by their email support, and frankly I thought their support wasn’t helpful. I didn’t like that I couldn’t just pick up the phone and call. WP Engine may have great hosting, but it failed me. If you’re at all like me where you value customer service above all else, then I’d go with ZippyKid.

    Reply
  • Vid Luther August 12, 2012, 12:43 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Pashmina.

    Reply
  • M. K. Safi August 18, 2012, 4:58 pm

    WP Engine is like an ex that I stalk on the internet and secretly wish they’ve become miserable after I left them. It’s because I really liked the stability of the service, but then their disrespectful customer service left me with no choice but to leave.

    ZippyKid, on the other hand, has been awesome both in terms of service and support. For some reason, however, I don’t have the confidence in ZippyKid that I had with WP Engine as a hosting platform. I don’t know if it’s because ZippyKid isn’t as good at boasting as WP Engine or if their website comes across more hip than professional or if they don’t have as big a social following as WP Engine…Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. And the two extended outages that ZippyKid had in the brief one month that I have been with them aren’t gonna help reassure me…

    But I’m rooting for ZippyKid and I hope they do better simply because dealing with their customer support feels good!

    Reply
  • John Byrne August 22, 2012, 11:20 am

    I have moved all my sights from inMotion, NetSol, and WP Engine to Lightning Base. In fact, I didn’t move anything: they did it for me, for free!

    They also fixed a million broken things in each site, free!

    I’m sorry, but I have been searching in desperation for help and service and so far only this seemingly small start-up has the hunger to go over the top to make me happy.

    And the founder himself took personal interest in my installs, writing me daily updates and overseeing the migrations.

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher September 1, 2012, 10:36 am

    Like John Byrne and M.K. Safi, I too am completely bent out of shape over my experience with WPEngine. Their “disrespectful customer service,” as Safi puts it, was unfathomable. And, like Safi, I am so pissed that I’ll take time out of my life to stalk them across the internet.

    The 4-5 months my website was with WPEngine were the worst in the company’s five-year history. On no less than three separate occasions, WPEngine managed to crash my site. I had more downtime, more hassles, more frustration and more B.S. than I had experienced with all my previous webhosts combined. It was a constant nightmare — hours and hours spent arguing with them and cleaning up messes they left behind. I estimate that between the crashes and 150+ hours of lost productivity, my overall site traffic for 2012 will be 7.5% less than it should have been. Working with WPEngine was a HUGE distraction and massively disruptive.

    If you run a simple website that gets modest traffic, AND you don’t know much about Wordpress, AND it doesn’t matter if your website goes down for a few days here or there, then go ahead and take your chances with WPEngine. For my website, WPEngine was the worst mistake I’ve ever made. Don’t buy into all the hype.

    I know there are some folks out there who will assume that I am a WP moron with cruddy plugins and a messy theme — not the case. If you are a site admin considering WPEngine and would like to discuss my experience, please feel free to contact me. I’ll do whatever I can to spare others from the pain and suffering WPEngine inflicts.

    (Note: WPEngine may pop in to share its spin on my support tickets, just like they did with John Byrne in this thread. It’s purely defensive spin. Don’t listen to a word they say.)

    Reply
  • Ben Metcalfe September 1, 2012, 12:04 pm

    Despite being warned that any response my company, WP Engine, might make is only a ‘defensive spin’ and that you “shouldn’t listen to a word [I] say”, I trust and believe most reasonable readers of this comment thread would respect the right to a reply, even if you wish to deny me one Jeffry Pilcher.

    I would also offer that the comments of anyone who writes – and I quote – “I am so pissed that I’ll take time out of my life to stalk them across the internet.” would be taken with a grain of salt by most normal people. Even if our service was ridiculously appalling, which it certainly isn’t, I would still be shocked that someone would want to stalk us across the internet over it.

    Like anyone else, I get shoddy service from all sorts of places and I might make a constructive complaint but then I move on. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to take time out of my life to stalk someone. In fact, I don’t actually think I would ever want to stalk anyone over anything, as it’s not really considered a positive, normal thing to do, is it?

    But anyway yes I’m going to put my ‘spin’ on your support tickets – spin being me looking at them and quoting what you wrote in the three tickets you opened with us because what you have written above and what I can see from your tickets doesn’t match up and that’s not fair to us. We’ll always put our hands up and admit mistakes if and when they happen, but the above is not a fair reflection.

    For a start of the three tickets you opened with us, the first two were resolved quickly within 30 minutes of you reporting, with the second one (#36841) actually due to a cookie issue in your browser which you cleared at your end in order to resolve the issue.

    The third and last ticket (#36855) consists of a CAPITAL-LETTER-filled tirade of abuse consisting of unreasonable demands and expletives written by yourself, Jeffrey, including this delightful quote:

    “fuck you buddy.” Instead of anything remotely close to contrition, I get “tough
    titties ya little bitch.” NicceeŠ “

    all of the while my support engineer remained professional and respectful, and replied back with the upmost courtesy despite the abuse being written to him. This was in response to us removing a plugin you had uploaded to your site which was placing a severe performance demand upon our infrastructure and was on our list of disallowed plugins. (None of your tickets are about site “crashes”, which you labored your comment around, either, btw)

    None of my employees deserve to have to be communicated to like that – not even if you felt they had treated you unfairly (which they hadn’t).

    If that’s how you wish to interact with my staff, and you now wish to “stalk us across the internet”, then I’m glad you are no longer a customer.

    Jeffry: The only real issue that you submitted at ticket to us over was that we removed a bad plugin from your site. And you wrote publicly on your comment above that you want to “take time out of [your] life to stalk [us] across the internet”. With those two points in mind, I’ll let other readers here judge for themselves the validity of your near-closing remark:

    “I know there are some folks out there who will assume that I am a WP moron with cruddy plugins and a messy theme — not the case.”

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher September 10, 2012, 7:49 am

    You took the quote out of context Ben, which was from a private support thread. I was paraphrasing what your company was saying to me, as in your support team was telling me, “F you buddy.” I wasn’t telling your team to f-off, as you make my quote sound.

    But nice spin.

    There are other support threads. My website was one of many under a master account. There were support threads generated by the stand-alone site, plus many many others from the master account.

    Thanks for calling me a moron Ben. You just earned yourself some more cruddy reviews.

    If only you cared about your customers as much as you do protecting your reputation.

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher September 10, 2012, 8:36 am

    Here is the complete context of the quote Ben twisted. I was complaining that they had deleted a plugin without notice, and suggested that —in the future— they proactively contact site admins if they are going to make major changes (such as deleting a plugin). Their response (I’m paraprashing… ever so slightly)? “We posted something about this on our blog. If you don’t like our service, maybe you should find a new webhost.”

    This exchange went back and forth. Me, asking for proactive communication and some empathy. Them, coming back each time with defensiveness and tech-support jujitsu explaining why they are unequivocally right.

    You’re twisting the finger back at me? You’re saying that because I didn’t read your blog this morning right when it was published, the problem is mine? I got news for you, I was too damn busy trying to figure out where my sidebar went. You didn’t just “delete a threatening plugin.” You freakin broke my website!!!! Without notice!!!! That you think a blog post is adequate notification is utterly offensive. As if people hug their RSS feed all day… GTF outta here man.

    All I asked for was more proactive communication. All I’m hearing is “fuck you buddy.” Instead of anything remotely close to contrition, I get “tough titties ya little bitch.” Niccee… “We reserve the right to completely mess up your website without telling you because that’s how we roll.”

    This issue is “RESOLVED.” Don’t send me any more emails. This exchange is over.

    But please, send me a survey asking what I thought of your service. I’m more than happy to take another 30 minutes out of my day to let you really know how I really feel.

    For the record, the support thread is not a “CAPITAL-LETTER-filled tirade of abuse consisting of unreasonable demands and expletives.” I’ve sent the whole thing to Morgan so he can see for himself.

    Reply
  • M. K. Safi September 10, 2012, 8:46 am

    LOL. “fuck you buddy” and “tough titties ya little bitch” describe quite accurately the types of responses I got from WP Engine.

    Reply
  • John Byrne September 10, 2012, 8:52 am

    I am loving Jeffry’s remarks and courage. I also have to give Morgan credit for being a true-blue honest guy for letting us tell unsuspecting bloggers what a terrible, shallow, greedy, deceitful, and dishonest company WPEngine really is. Jeffry is so right about Ben having nothing to do but spend his customers’ monthly fees, while sitting back and reading forums like this, and attacking those of us who spent our time, money, and gave our trust to him and his brood.

    I have nine sites that were migrated, free of charge, to Lightning Base. The owner personally oversaw the work, and they fixed a half dozen little issues, never once bitching or telling me it was my problem.

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher September 10, 2012, 10:13 am

    Furthermore, Ben says only three support tickets were ever opened. This is a lie. Below is a link to a partial list of the support threads I opened while with WPEngine. I say “partial list” because WPEngine has deleted some, most notably #36855 which Ben quotes in his comment. Who knows how many other unflattering support threads were deleted?

    http://twitpic.com/at7z3g

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher September 11, 2012, 6:59 am

    After going through my records, there were at least 10 WPEngine support threads opened by me, plus another 4-5 opened by my site admin. That’s at least 15 support issues in 4 months. In two years with Rackspace, I don’t think I submitted more than one, maybe two support requests.

    The major issues experienced with WPEngine include (1) the deleted plugin that killed my sidebar, (2) an edit to a theme file that killed my single.php, and (3) completely botching the implementation of a SSL certificate. Each of these issues caused major portions of my site to fail, and each was caused by the direct actions of a WPEngine support tech.

    Ben, your attempt to smear my character by insinuating I’m some sort of WP moron only further illustrates your company’s culture. Am I a crazed stalker? No, just an enraged customer trying to spare others from the pain, stress and misery I endured while hosting my site with WPEngine.

    Just so you know, I’ve paid $1,000 to Aaron Brazell, one of WPEngine’s co-founders, to analyze my site’s theme and plugins, and he identified no major issues. I also spend a few thousand dollars to retain a part-time site admin — a guy who runs his own wireless internet service company (WISP), and he’s definitely one smart fellow.

    If you look around my site, you won’t see anything funky or exotic. The plugins I’m running include: Akismet, BWP Google Sitemaps, Feedburner, Google Analyticator, Get The Image, Gravity Forms, nRelate Related Content, Real Time Find & Replace, Redirection, Tweet This, upPrev, Use Google Libraries, VaultPress, WP-DB Manager, WP-Email, and WP Security Scan. All these plugins are very popular and highly-rated.

    Reply
  • John Byrne September 11, 2012, 7:07 am

    Jeffrey is completely right in his claims about WP Engine’s culture of customer neglect, bait-and-switch marketing tactics, and insulting insinuations. I’m glad to see Morgan is at least allowing the truth to get out, as i imagine this company is scooping up hundreds of new customers every week, given how aggressive they are with their ‘affiliate’ program. I tend to look at sites or blogs that render opinions about WP hosting companies as conduits to essentially earn commissions for referrals, At least this site has the decency to give the consumer a chance to say what he/she really thinks. kudos time and again to Morgan.

    Reply
  • Kevin Velasco September 27, 2012, 11:28 am

    Question to consider for current and future start-ups: As your customer base increases, will your willingness to bend over backwards for customers decrease?

    Reply
  • Brad Dalton October 16, 2012, 11:32 am

    Dear Webmaster,

    The host name of your site does not match any of the “Subject Names” in your SSL certificate, which were:

    *.wpengine.com
    wpengine.com

    This will cause many web browsers to block users from accessing your site, or to display a security warning message when your site is accessed.

    To correct this problem, please get a new SSL certificate by a Certificate Authority (CA) with a “Subject Name” or “Subject Alternative DNS Names” that matches your host name.

    Thanks,

    The Google Web Crawling Team

    Are WPEngine using this to force an upgrade?

    I emailed them several times and they told me the only way to fix this is to pay $100 a month for a more expensive account.

    Is WPEngine a scam?

    Reply
  • Eduardo November 29, 2012, 5:31 am

    I’m sorry, but Zippykid also seems to fail as much as any other hosting.
    I’m at day 6 of waiting for an answer to one ticket, and at day 3 for another one – each one, for different websites. Too much for managed Wordpress.
    Zippykid did, few days before Thanksgiving, an emergency migration on our server. Lots of problems followed, most notable ones:
    1) For one website, I was unable to correctly publish a post. After 5 days, the problem seem to be solved, but there was no word at all from support. Just nothing.
    2) On both sites, all email notifications stopped working. I complained about this 3 days ago, for one site. Installing new plugins became impossible. Now imagine you run a business that rely on email notifications to customers. What would you feel? I’m sad, and angry.
    I sent an email to Vid Luther, yesterday, to no effect.
    This company have serious organization problems. There’s no point on expanding your business, if you can’t even handle the clients you alreay own. This should be a rule for any serious business. Yes, my company is small. I’m not Revlon, or any other big-shot client. But if you charge money, for a managed wordpress hosting, then you have to deliver it, using a expression from previous comments. There’s no excuse.
    Overall, I’m deeply disapointed with the whole experience of Zippykid. I have been client for months, and there’s always some annoying problem, a server going down, a problem connecting databases. There were some security issues, too, detected by Vaultpress backups, a while ago. In short, Zippykid is causing me the same amount of trouble, any other not-fancy hosting would cause.
    I already started looking for options, and I’m considering building my own virtual server on Amazon cloud. It’ll take me a lot of time, but, at least, will work properly and, if something goes wrong, I’ll be much faster than anyone else to solve whatever happens.

    Reply
  • Eduardo November 30, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Just for the record, in the 7th day Vid from Zippykid contacted me through email and kindly helped his team to fix the problems. It was nice and I hope Zippykid could be able to manage business growth, in a way it doesn’t compromise the service. But, I’ll keep searching for a new alternative host, just in case, to be ready to move if similar problems happen again.

    Reply
  • Rodney Walker December 4, 2012, 1:35 pm

    Wow this is sad. Here I am dealing with my hosting situation, trying to find a good web host, and then I run into this post. I thought zippy kid was good, and wp engine, but i see both have problems. I need a good web host for wordpress. If u have a suggestion, please contact me at jobs2ceo@gmail.com

    Reply
  • Antonio December 20, 2012, 11:06 am

    Funny and Sad. I came to find this post because of speed issues and database errors with my current host hoping to find an answer aside from all the other “Affiliate” comparison blog posts out there. I am yet to find an answer to that question.

    I contacted WP-Engine several months ago to talk to them about possibly moving my site to them. I’ll just say that after my phone call with an “EXPERT”, I was left with even more questions. I did not feel the warm and fuzzy one should feel especially before I hand over my site and money to them.

    I feel it may be another case of growing to fast and forgetting what is the most important other than really good marketing. I would look to WP Engine again if they can get all their kinks worked out, but it seems to me that all these so called Wordpress exclusive hosting companies have their issues.

    I have no problem paying higher than usual costs for hosting, but customer service has to be there and top notch at that as well as delivering what is expected.

    So long story short… Can I please get a GOOD SOLID referral?

    Reply
  • Eduardo January 2, 2013, 3:19 am

    Another update on the situation I described earlier, last november-2012. Zippykid didn’t solved any of the issues I reported – all problemas started again. So I just gave up and tried the other service everybody criticized before, wp-engine. I’m using a personal plan. Maybe I was just lucky, but I think it’s very good. You can access your database directly, which is really useful – Zippykid doesn’t allow that; the two opportunities I needed their support, my tickets were solved within less than 4 hours. And really solved. They have a better, complete user interface for configuration and information. So far, I think it’s better than Zippykid. It’s been 3 weeks now, I feel relieved not to have more problems daily!

    Reply
  • Pavel Roytberg March 7, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Interesting post I accidentally ‘ve find.
    Just a small coin of my exprience with WPEngine. I’ve moved one of my companies website to managed wordpress (WPEngine) almost a year ago. (April 2012). And while they didn’t consult me well when I asked for advices with support tickets….they did extremely well by doing what they promised – good, scalable hosted wordpress solution.

    In general I’m extremely happy with them and plan to move more of our projects-sites to them…
    Its good to know about alternatives like ZippyKid but …for us WPEngine is rockSolid and well-served.

    Thank you guys for all the work you are stealthy doing in the background for guys like me.

    P.S. I’m extremely happy that my system administrators didn’t have to deal with wordpress and we have up and running our site in… Europe with good connection to Russia (which is also very important for us).

    Reply
  • Jom March 8, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Avoid wpengine.com – they are constantly down

    Reply
  • Kim March 18, 2013, 10:43 am

    I highly recommend LightningBase for fastest page load times and good customer/tech support. I looked at WPEngine, ZippyKid, and LightningBase before signing up. WPEngine never responded to my pre-sign-up questions about hosting plan. ZippyKid responded in a day, but their answers were negative and not actually responding to the questions I asked. LightningBase replied in about an hour and seemed very helpful and interested in my project. Then I migrated my site to LightningBase and did some page load time tests – I couldn’t believe how much faster my pages loaded on LightningBase vs my old host. About 7-8 seconds faster on each page. Now that my Wordpress site is on LightningBase, each of my pages loads in 1 to 1.4 seconds (testing with empty cache). They always answer my tech support questions in less than 2 hours. Very helpful.

    Reply
  • Abhishek April 13, 2013, 6:35 am

    I use the cheap service from Bluehost but later I found that my website is relatively slow. I saw nice (blog)advertising of WPEngine and I decided to give it a try. Shelling out $290 per year just for hosting for one webiste was a big decision but i went for it.

    I started doing the migration on my own. WPEngine has a migration guide, which in my opinion, is not up to the mark. At some place, it talks of following a certail procedure but there is no link to follow.

    Anyways, somehow I complete the migration with DNS being the last step. Guess what? It breaks my website. Now it has some awful WPEngine stuff about DNS migration and its been over 24 hours since I opened a support ticket. But WPEngine hardly gives a damn about the problem.

    For someone who claims to provide Hassle-Free WordPress Hosting, tjis is awful. Thank goodness, they have a 60 days moneyback plan. I would revert to bluehost. Its better to have a slow website rather than having a non-reachable website.

    Reply
  • Shi June 5, 2013, 10:35 am

    WP Engine will not let you get an ssl certificate until you upgrade. I have a basic blog and do not need the $100 plan. That’s not right! On their website it does NOT state they will not allow you to get one, it just says they do not offer ssl support. That’s misleading because “support” is being used subjectively. So now my blog is just up for any hacker to intercept data. I really disappointed.

    Reply
  • Toni July 2, 2013, 4:53 am

    Does anyone else have experience using Lightning Base? Their prices are really good but I cannot find much in the way of reviews through search engines. WPEngine and Zippkid prices are quite high for a site as small as mine!

    Reply
  • TIm July 4, 2013, 10:50 pm

    Drop an email and it gets migrated at zippykid. And you get a $150 bill.
    Yeah, I’d expect easy for $150.

    Reply
  • Vikas Patial July 6, 2013, 5:19 am

    I would request people looking for alternatives and hosting more than one site to checkout our site wpoven.com , They are managed VPS and we do not have limits on plugins , sites , visits etc .

    We will make sure you are not disappointed in anyway.

    Reply
  • Toni July 8, 2013, 11:35 am

    After going through all these reviews and taking into account the pricing I went with Lightningbase. My site was migrated for me free of charge on the same day of sign up without any issues. The support I got from Chris from my bombardment of questions was exceptional. My site loads much faster than before but to be honest it was his support that won me over.

    Reply
  • John July 8, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Chris is the owner of Lightningbase. He personally migrated six sites for me, and takes care of my every need. I don’t measure speed but I do count on my sites to work, and I have never had a problem since I moved to Lightningbase, whereas with WP Engine and the others, it was always this pat answer and all about what ‘we can’t do for you Mr. Customer’.

    Reply
  • Toni July 8, 2013, 10:21 pm

    @John I couldn’t agree more. I’d never heard of them until I found this post and think WPEngine and Zippkid’s prices are way too high for small sites. At some point in time most servers will have some kind of problem and it’s the support that becomes crucial! Lightningbase have the most competitive prices, free migration and first class support! I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from them soon!

    Reply
  • Tyrone July 11, 2013, 9:49 am

    Morgan,
    Thank you for your post and for opening this discussion on WPengine and other Managed wordpress hosting solutions.

    You have to hand it to WPengine. They have a great marketing plan in place, headed by their aggressive affiliate program. If you do some light research on WPengine you will find nothing but glowing reviews, but these are almost all affiliates, as is somewhat standard in the hosting industry. You have to dig a little deeper into the comments to get some of the dirt WPengine.

    That being said I am not going to bash WPengine. They seem to be a reputable company, with a knowledgeable team, offering a viable service with several great features. They just fall short in a few areas. They should definitely offer an in-house migration service. They refer you to WP Valet which charges $250 for the service (way too much IMO). Secondly, their support time could use some work. Support ticket response time is all over the place, anywhere from 1-16 hours. IMO if you are paying for a premium hosting service and phone support is not available, ticket response should never be more than an hour or two. Thirdly, WPengine should really take look at their customer support approach and try to take a more proactive, personalized approach to put the customer first, not their bottom line. You seem to get alot of “sorrys,” “nope we don’t do that,” and “not our problem” type responses instead of “let me look into that and get it fixed right away” as it should be. Lastly their documentation could also use some work.

    After signing up with WPengine and getting migrated over, which was a pain in the ass itself, there were a couple issues WPengine could not fix, along with no evidence that the speed of my site was quicker then my previous setup. This coupled with their poor support led me to dig a little deeper before going ahead with the final switch and thus how I found this post.

    I am happy I did. I contacted ZippyKid 3 days ago with some presale question (I have yet to here back from them). I noticed a couple of the commenters here recommended Chris with LightningBase as an alternative Managed wordpress hosting solution. So I contacted him, he responded almost immediately, and after some discussion I decided to go with his service. He migrated my site for free, hashed out all the issues that WPengine could not resolve, and got my site running faster then its ever been, all within a matter of 24 hours. Some of the best customer support I’ve had in quite some time. The kicker, lightningbase is about price is half WPengine.

    FYI this is not spam, just a really happy customer. You can check my site at WhoIsHostingThis.com

    Reply
  • Toni July 24, 2013, 4:40 am

    I’ve been hosting my WordPress site with Lightning Base since my comment above and just moved another one of my websites over to them. I wrote a full review (if Morgan doesn’t mind the link) on my Lightning Base site hosted site.

    http://i-toni.com/web-hosting/lightning-base-wordpress-hosting-review/

    Reply
  • keith July 29, 2013, 4:45 am

    i had a wordpress based site built with WPEngine for a year but then
    it was turning out to be very costly for my small site with not so much of traffic.
    So i looked in to other options of managed hosts who particularly provide site migration in their basic plan, Synthesis charges a Fee for doing Migration. WPOven and lighteningbase offered free Site migration.
    WPOven seemed to be nice for sites with lot of traffic.lighteningbase was the cheapest option and proper for my small site with very less traffic. So i decided to proceed with lighteningbase.

    Reply
  • Steve July 29, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Luckily I signed up with both Zippy and WPengine at the same time. I flipped through both over the course of a view months (wpengine made this easy with a $4 a month hosting for the first three months) and then just today tried to really work WPE. It did not work. I can’t explain it because I’m not very technical in speech. But I’m creating dbs, trying to login, looking for the wp-admin, it’s now where to be found, sftp was giving me issues, the whole thing was not super easy for a somewhat intermediate user. If you take their wordpress install and run it from their initial setup, I supposing it runs great. But drop that db, or use another install, make mistakes, try and re-install, all the hammering and sawing that I like to do…and, whew..wpe just didn’t keep up. Best of luck to them. Glad I found this blog. It allowed me to move on and stop banging my head against the wall.

    Reply
  • Thomas Zickell November 21, 2013, 8:03 pm

    Hi Guys,
    As a very long time WP Engine & ZippyKid now rebranded Pressable
    (It is the same ownership and what I believe is a wise move name wise as well as the extended services now offered.)
    I want you guys to know I will refer to Pressable as ZippyKid as I do not want to confuse people and you can go to either name and get the same site.

    My reason for chiming in is I am seeing a lot of people that have had what I believe are issues that extremely annoying at the time however as somebody who has a account with every manage WordPress host I do not have one with lightning based on their CDN really just CloudFlare not something that adds value. As it is free to anyone.

    I also found myself in a frustrated state when I signed up for a hosting company that starts at just under $500 a month for one core and 1 gig of RAM.

    I think everybody gets these ideas that the people running the companies are not human and though you know your old host is no good especially if you’re on blue host or some budget shared mess.

    You get the idea in your head that because these managed WordPress hosting companies are so much better that there’s no way anything could happen that could ever be wrong it’s 100% bliss.

    In reality the once you get over the very small issues that could be the fault of your self, the company or it would’ve happened on any service you just think this is got to be 100% perfect 100% of the time.

    Well if you’re running a business like I am you want to spend money on quality hosting and Zippy kid along with WP engine are still the two best choices.

    In all honesty if I’m going to my be migrating a site something I’m capable of doing yes. In my capable of doing it at the level these hosting companies or my developer? Absolutely not.

    I would not do it by myself. For the same reasons you chose a better host than your last one you do not want to deal with the issues that come with hosting WordPress websites. Both companies offer excellent migration services.

    There are a lot of people upset that they did not think the instructions were good or whatever the case may be. I don’t blame you I probably would get frustrated if I went down that path myself. I don’t know your level of ability however I know mine and I’d rather pay to have it done right.

    After that all I can say is I have at least 3 years we’ve each company both of them are the best.

    How many hosting companies get there founders in a blog post actually giving tips and thanking or trying to help their customers?

    You will not find that very often at all.

    I am not here to pick a winner I am here to tell you you have picked a winner if you choose either one.

    Well I remember WP Engine when they were $50 bucks only package offered. I remember when ZippyKid now Pressable only offered one package.

    When getting at is
    Both companies are going to make you very happy. If you give them a real test. Try them for 6 months you will then understand why they are worth the extra money and why you’re lucky to have these options available to you to host your site. You’ll also get to understand why some things you might be upset with our done to protect you.

    I wish I could say something about lightning except for what I know witches they use CloudFlare as their “global CDN” I personally don’t want to say anything negative about a company to have relations with but a simple built with check will tell a summary (not everything) in regards to what they used along with their infrastructure.

    Both ZippyKid now Pressable and WP Engine have put a lot into their infrastructure way more than the other competitors.

    Each company is going to get better every day and I urge you to not get discouraged and host your site with both of them or decide which is the best for you.

    Another interesting fact is they’re the only managed WordPress hosting companies that each have backing from automatic the founders of WordPress. This should say quite a bit.

    I wish you all the very best and to all the great people at both Pressable (ZK) and WP Engine thank you for all your fantastic service and excellent hosting abilities I look forward to hosting with both of your companies for very long time.

    Thomas

    Reply
  • Toni November 22, 2013, 1:42 am

    Thanks for the review Thomas although there are a few incorrect points! LightningBase do not only add ‘CloudFlare’ They offer SSD based storage, CDN, Varnish and more. However, the 3 main reasons I went with LighningBase were:

    1. Price – less than half the price of the other WordPress Managed Hostings mentioned here
    2. Support – I always got replies back in minutes! The others took around 24 hours!
    3. They migrate your site for FREE

    I have been with them a few months now and my site loads fast without downtime!

    Reply
  • Samantha Jones February 15, 2017, 11:14 am

    I use ZippyKid for sure. I use it to host most of my Wordpress sites like mcabenefits172.com and exclusiveticketsales.com. 5 stars for sure

    Reply

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