How to Move Away from WPEngine

WP Engine is a very good webhost, but you might want to move away from them.

I moved one of my sites there originally because it was really really slow on Hostgator. I tried all kinds of tweaks and cleanups, a cacheing plugin and even put it onto a content delivery network service but nothing helped. Slow loading affects rankings and it also pisses off users.

While I was trying to find a solution to my slow WP site I came across WPEngine. Lots of positive reviews from all kinds of people so I took the plunge.

My site has been really speedy on their servers. I’ve never worried about doing backups or about my site security; they’ve got that.

But where they have fallen down miserably for me has been in tech support.

I’m an Australian living in Australia.

WPEngine is in the US and works standard business hours. That means it usually takes overnight to get an answer or help with an issue.

God help me if it’s a weekend – they seem to run on skeleton staff. I’ve learned that getting a reply on a weekend is as rare as winning the lotto.

Now it’s not like I need a lot of technical support – just now and then something happens and I want some information or help. No choice here but to settle in for a long wait and then come back to the task many hours later, often the following day. That’s hugely disruptive to workflow and you know, bloody frustrating.

Also that site’s traffic has been growing steadily to nearly 25000 visitors a month. That’s the upper limit of my plan, from here the monthly costs increases greatly from $29.

So I finally decided to move away from WPEngine.

Clearly didn’t want to take that site back to Hostgator since the performance issues would probably still rear up.

Again I searched around, did my homework and decide to try out on SiteGround (more at the end plus a link for an amazing deal!). This is a European hosting company with datacentres all over the place; my site is in their Asia Pacific centre.

They have 24/7 tech support through a ticketing system AND live chat. And with what came next, believe me I tested their tech support very hard!

So usually if you want to move a WordPress site from one webhost to another you do it one of two ways:

  • use a migration plugin, free or premium. (Premium like backupbuddy (aff link) is much easier to use, no difficult configuration and again, good tech support of you need it). Make the backup file. Load it to your new webspace along with a little migration script. Run the migration script. Roll the DNS. Voila – fully functional site in about half an hour, allowing for download and upload times.
  • the slower way – download your database through PHPMyAdmin. FTP all your WordPress files down to your computer. Upload to new webspace. Load your database into the new webspace, rewrite URLs etc. Very time consuming and least favoured way to do it.

WPEngine don’t allow backup plugins since they have their own backup routines etc. Very handy if you want to stay with them but not at all handy if you want to leave. So of course I had to do the slow way, and that’s where the trouble really started!

Firstly, downloading my WordPress was incredibly slow – it took about seven hours, maximum speed about 7kps.

Every database backup I did gave me a different file size. Even the techs at SiteGround logged into my WPEngine account and did several backups with the same result.

After two days I logged a ticket with them, this was on a weekday.

I got no reply.

The next day I got onto their chat and finally convinced a tech that I was not a clueless female, this was a real problem, and please do a backup for me.

He did.

SiteGround techs kindly did the DB setup for me – but after uploading and configuration it turned out that the WPEngine backup was a version of the site that was about a year old. WTF?

Here it was Saturday morning – but I logged a job. Much to my shock I got a reply late on Sunday afternoon – giving me the information below which actually WORKED so I could get my own files. It took six days to get this, I hope it helps you!

Here’s what you do:

  • Login to WPEngine.
  • Select your account.
  • When that page loads go to the ‘backup points’ link on the left hand side menu.
  • When that loads, select the most recent backup from the list (unless you want another one). It should be at the top of the screen.
  • Select the download option.
  • Their system will send you an email with a download link.
  • Click that link.

The file downloads INCREDIBLY fast – my 129mb file downloaded in a minute or two. It contains EVERYTHING – your WP files (theme, plugins, images, posts, pages, everything!) and your database files.

I FTPd the whole package to my SiteGround account and the techs there had my site up and running inside an hour. They would have stripped out the extra WPEngine folders – good post here about that if you have to do it yourself.

So if you’re unhappy with WPEngine for whatever reason, I hope this helps!

Okay more about SiteGround

Clearly I like them. Their tech support is great, all their techs speak excellent English. All my interactions with them have been online though so it’s been written English – all very good, no misunderstandings or cross communications.

Very impressed.

As I write, they have a deal if you use my affiliate link – if you pay for one month of hosting you get 11 months hosting free on their two entry level plans, so no more than $9.97 for a year of hosting. I know. What? How can they do that?

I guess they’re trying to break into the US market.

I’m on the highest level plan because I intend to move all my sites and my client sites over there over the next few weeks and their offer to affiliates is an extra month of hosting tagged on to your plan.

That doesn’t apply to my higher-end plan so I don’t get a penny if you sign up using my link.

But I’m really happy with them and happy to pass on this deal! I know how hard it can be getting started so, yes… click here to get the deal.

Hope it’s still active when you click through. If not take a look at their offers anyway, they’re great value and their service is second-to-none.

5 Comments

  1. Luis on 22 May 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Hi, in the part where you say:
    “They would have stripped out the extra WPEngine folders – good post here about that if you have to do it yourself. ”
    Where is the post about that ? I need to do it myself.
    Thanks.

  2. Brian Jackson on 25 May 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Thanks for the mention Sandy! Have a great memorial weekend.

    • Sandy Ross on 26 May 2014 at 10:49 AM

      You’re welcome. We don’t do memorial day in Australia 🙂 Well we do, we just call it Anzac Day, in April.

  3. Brett Bumeter on 3 August 2014 at 5:32 PM

    oops, just to clarify, that’s not a complaint about this blog article, just a warning to others, make sure you check to see if you did really receive everything!

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