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Managed WordPress Demystified


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NOTE: Video of presentation is available after slide 43.

Managed WordPress is a vibrant category of web hosting that specializes in doing 1 thing only: ensuring your WordPress websites are reliable, secure and well-maintained.

In this presentation, Alex Sirota (@alexsirota), Director of NewPath Consulting (@newpathtech) will describe the different types of hosting available for WordPress with a focus on the ever evolving managed WordPress hosting space.

This will be a non-vendor biased presentation but will help web developers, designers and their customers understand the value proposition that a Managed WordPress hosting company can offer.


Describe the difference between shared hosting & Managed WordPress.
Demonstrate some of the very cool features in several Managed WordPress systems including GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Solution (part of GoDaddy Pro), DreamPress from DreamHost, FlyWheel, Pantheon and WP engine.
Present a new survey of more than 20 Managed WordPress hosts across the world.

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Managed WordPress Demystified

  1. 1. WordCamp Toronto 2015 Oct 3-4 - Humber College Lakeshore Campus Alex Sirota, Director, NewPath Consulting @alexsirota Managed WordPress Demystified Insights from a Worldwide Survey of Managed WordPress Hosts
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  3. 3. Why care about hosting? • Boring, no? • So much choice and variety in 2015, need to be informed • Hosting partner critical for your sanity and your customer’s satisfaction: 2-4s maximum load times... • And can make your WordPress configuration and development much safer, friendlier and FUN! 3
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  5. 5. Story 1: December Hack • Customer on shared hosting at large Canadian host, WordPress installed with default “admin” username, core not upgraded in months. Solution: Restore from recent backup + Security baked into hosting 5
  6. 6. Story 2: WordPress Migration ≠ Good Times • Hacked site needs to be moved over QUICKLY as per customer demand. Solution: Migration services with a 1-click migrate 6
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  8. 8. Story 3: The dreaded “white screen of death” • You updated some theme/plugin code, and BOOM! Solution: Use a workflow to promote changes tested in staging environment, then promote to production automatically. Rollback production if required. 8
  9. 9. A picture explains the differences... 9 Build your own car ($-$$) Public transit ($) Uber for Hosting ($$-$$$$) Host specific implementation
  10. 10. WordPress Hosting Options Shared GoDaddy Hosting 1and1 BlueHost DreamHost Hostgator Thousands more Virtual Private Server Many major shared hosts offer VPS options Digital Ocean Amazon Web Services Linode 100s more Managed WordPress 20+ options available today (⅓+ of managed WordPress Hosts are shared hosts as well) Really just a marketing term We will look closer at 5 hosts, all quite different 10
  11. 11. Deep dive on the term “Managed WordPress” Cost + Support Different customers (SMBs, Agencies, Development shops) Support varies from light configuration to development Very competitive market - you do get what you pay for! Architecture Architecture affects: Level of caching and optimization Workflow Security Great custom UI make complex processes user friendly. No cpanel! Bells & Whistles Migration Support (free to fantastick!) Pre-packaged proprietary plugins and themes (e.g. Genesis comes free with WebSynthesis, 5-minute quickstart on GoDaddy Pro) 11
  12. 12. No more of this... 10 Easy Steps for your cloning and WordPress migration: 1. Download the plugin wp-db-backup. 2. Upload this plugin to your current server. Go to the ‘Plugins’ menu to activate it. 3. Proceed to the menu ‘Manage‘ -> ‘Backup‘. Select all your tables, and click on ‘Backup’ so you can download the gzip file onto your computer. 4. Extract the gzip file you’ve downloaded. There now should be a sql file. This file contains your WordPress database. In the next steps, we will put this database into new server. 5. Create a MySql Database and user for your blog in the new hosting account. This is explained in detail 12
  13. 13. Fantastic Five: 5 very different approaches 13
  14. 14. GoDaddy Managed WordPress Cheap ‘n Cheerful 14
  15. 15. Go Pro with GoDaddy • Super user-friendly including automatic migration from most WordPress installations, simple DNS configuration • GoDaddy Pro is a free membership program for freelancers that provides exclusive tools and support. • Staging -> production deployment for a complex WordPress site can be finicky • WordCamp Toronto 2015 sponsor! 15
  16. 16. Simple migration user interface... 16
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  18. 18. GoDaddy Pro Monitoring Dashboard with SMS/Email Alerts 18
  19. 19. DreamPress 2 from DreamHost Speed and Flexibility ‘R Us 19
  20. 20. DreamHost (shared) to DreamPress (managed) • 2 VPSs for each domain (application server and MySQL server), no “secret” sauce, Varnish and HHVM • Regularly contact plug-in authors that don’t “play nice”, but don’t restrict plugins (see wiki), • Wiki on DreamPress 2 has tech details, detailed FAQs • DreamHost to DreamPress upgrade • WordCamp Toronto 2015 Sponsor! 20
  21. 21. Customers love DreamHost 21
  22. 22. Pretty sweet domain name chooser on signup - all gTLDs represented to choose a new domain quickly 22
  23. 23. FlyWheel Agency Friendly + Team Oriented 23
  24. 24. FlyWheel Awesomeness • Simple collaboration for agencies and customers • One Click Staging Environment 24
  25. 25. Simplicity for complex processes 25
  26. 26. Team collaboration, 1-click site cloning 26
  27. 27. Built in MySQL database manager 27
  28. 28. WP engine 5+ Year WordPress Pioneer and Performance Champion 28
  29. 29. WP engine - a WordPress pioneer... • All focus on WordPress for 5+ years, co-invented term “Managed” WordPress • A “labs team” researches performance improvements (eg HHVM, geoIP, Steven Word) • In March 2015, WP engine received investment of $23M • Team of 8-12 speak at WordCamps & WordCamp Toronto 2015 sponsor! 29
  30. 30. Backup interface - note backups before and after WordPress core upgrades 30
  31. 31. Cloning/Templating Interface 31
  32. 32. Pantheon DevOps-for-Hire 32
  33. 33. Pantheon: A DevOps dream • DevOps for organizations who cannot afford a DevOps team, with full dev->staging->production workflow • Uses existing Linux “container” technology (like Google App Engine, Heroku), HHVM, Drupal, Your SLA = Largest Customer SLA • FREE developer websites, only pay for production • WordPress Toronto 2015 sponsor! 33
  34. 34. What could go wrong? Everything... 34 From Josh Koening’s (Pantheon) “Workflow is a Dance”
  35. 35. Multidev: an innovation for DevOps 35 5 things you can stop: - “It worked on my machine.” - Wrangling local dev tools - Praying for scale - Reconciling out-of-sync development databases - Delaying sign-off
  36. 36. Public Managed WordPress Survey Survey performed February 2015 with feedback from WordPress Hosting Group on Facebook: over 2,000 hosting experts across the world. Join today! 36
  37. 37. Let’s recap... • Hosting is a huge factor for developer sanity and customer satisfaction • Review Signal Performance benchmarks for 2015 • Things can go wrong, so need a great partner, here are 5 • Evaluate & make the best decision for your customers! 37
  38. 38. Managed WordPress = WordPress Superhero Thanks to for image! 38
  39. 39. Q&A @alexsirota @newpathtech (888) 781-2539 Visit to find out more about our sales, marketing and operational fixed-fee services. 39
  40. 40. Shared Hosting (Traditional) • Installed via control panel or manually • Limited access and resources available (Error 500) • You’re on your own for: • backup/restores • updates • ongoing attacks • Inexpensive • Support for WordPress is “best effort” 40
  41. 41. VPS Virtual Private Server • Various server “images” available with WordPress • Full “root” access • Can expand storage, memory, # of CPUs • You’re on your own for: • backup/restores • updates • ongoing attacks • Can be expensive with good support 41
  42. 42. Managed WordPress • Installation and environment tuned for WordPress • Don’t have to worry about performance and scale • No “root” access, and restriction on certain plugins • Features include: • Automatic backup & restore • WordPress core auto updates and notification • Attack detection and mitigation (DDoS) • Development/Deployment workflow • Caching always setup for speed-up 42