MediaTemple vs. WPEngine: A Comparison of Performance for WordPress Sites

I have been a loyal customer of MediaTemple for years. From Grid Service to Dedicated Servers, I’ve worked in multiple versions of their various environments. Dozens of client referrals to their service. I suffered through the great blackouts of 2010 and 2012. Overall, I would rate MediaTemple as an “average” hosting provider, no better than GoDaddy or other shared hosting setups.

The thing is, at $20 / month, I expected more than “average”. I just never received it.

Last year I purchased an SSL certificate from MediaTemple, for a specific sub-domain I used to host a custom invoicing / contract system I created.

The cost was $75 / year, I’ll mention, far above what other hosts charge. A Small Orange, for example, provides one SSL certificate completely free of charge with their Business plan. WPEngine charges $49 / year.

So at $75, once again I expected a bit more from MediaTemple.

Instead, every site on that server began experiencing issues where it would attempt to forward http://clicknathan.com to https://clicknathan.com. There was seemingly absolutely no reason this should have been occurring, nothing in my database, nothing in my code or .htaccess. I wrote to MT multiple times, always the same response, generally, “No clue, fix it, it’s on your end.”

Brand new installs of WP running the default theme would produce the same results. Still, they refused to admit that it was something with how Grid Service handled SSL.

So, after much deliberation, research and testing a few other possible hosts, I landed at WPEngine as my new WordPress hosting provider. And so far, so happy.

Now, there are advantages to using MediaTemple’s Grid Service which aren’t completely evident here. Some “drawbacks” of WPEngine are that they don’t host email or MX records, so you’ll need to do that through your domain name provider. You’re also limited to 1 WP installation if you buy their cheapest, $29/mo solution. MediaTemple definitely handles your email, and you can host up to 100 websites…though they’ll all be sharing the resources you’re paying for. Shared hosting on a shared host…

What I’m most concerned with, though, is PageSpeed. How fast your site loads is now a major factor in search result placement, and no amount of caching, database optimization or fine tuning my server could get rid of the dreaded “Reduce server response times” while I was with MediaTemple.

Moving to WPEngine from MediaTemple resulted in a 8% increase in my site’s performance on both mobile and desktop. And that was with absolutely no tweaking, just moving my files and database over and looking at the numbers.

Of course, things can always seem better with a new host but, after a few months, everything changes. To that end, I’ll keep updating here as is appropriate, but so far, so good!

Looking for a new host? Switch to WPEngine for your own WordPress sites!

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