Why I Didn’t Switch Back to MediaTemple

I have been using WP Engine for a year now. With my renewal date fast closing in, I thought it might be a good idea to review the other similar managed WordPress hosting options available out there.

There are several of them out there. I’ve worked with Flywheel for a client. There chat support is always the same guy, and he doesn’t seem to know much about anything. He’s always suggesting we escalate this to their tech support. It would be nice if he was the tech support, otherwise I’m just wasting my time. Plus, their CDNs and caching are a nightmare–I find it impossible to turn the CDN off (doing so via their control panel doesn’t actually do anything on the front end) and emptying the cache also doesn’t do anything if the CDN is on when you do it. Plus, Flywheel is charging between $15 – $75 / month for one WordPress install.

Update: I am currently using Flywheel for many of my clients’ sites and while support still isn’t up to par with WP Engine, the overall service and quality of hosting is the same. As WP Engine’s hosting has simply fallen multiple tiers over the past few months of 2017, I can’t justify paying thousands extra with them per year for only a slightly better support experience.

A company by the name of 45Air contacted me. They’re out of Youngstown, Ohio, near my hometown of Pittsburgh, and so I thought it would be cool to at least give them a spin. I replied to their email inquiry with a few questions. One rep told me that another guy would get back to me. That was on July 3rd. It’s July 28th and no one has been in touch. Poor customer service is a massive red flag.

I kept looking back at MediaTemple. I was with them, on their Grid Service, for many years. I was a very loyal customer for most of those years, even though their support is horrendous, their performance lacking, and just all of the little things that a $20 / month hosting plan should be taking care of weren’t there.

Still, their Managed WordPress hosting looked very enticing, particularly when compared to WP Engine’s offerings. Let’s compare their 3rd tier plans, WP Engine’s “Business” and MediaTemple’s “Agency” plans.

WP Engine Business Plan MediaTemple Agency Plan
Price $249/mo $240/mo
Installs 25 50
Monthly Visitors 400,000 10 million
Storage 30GB 500GB

Otherwise, they more or less offer the same features. An easy to use backend. Staging sites. SSL certificates (WP Engine is cheaper in this case than MediaTemple, at $49 / year vs. MT’s $75 / year–though MT gives you two free SSL certificates for one year).

But MediaTemple is way cheaper, for what you get. 20 times the monthly visitors. More than 16 times the storage. And with a coupon code I’d found, MT would only cost me $1680 / year.

Still, I was hesitant…their support had burned me before. Their performance on Grid was not even what I’d seen with a basic shared GoDaddy account…

But it all comes down to the money right? So I figured I’d at least give it a try.

I signed up today, around 11:30am.

I’m writing this at 12:30 in the afternoon. I’ve already cancelled my new account.

Exactly Why I Am Sticking with WP Engine

Upon logging into the new MediaTemple interface, I was happy to see that I was able to automatically import sites from my old Grid service account (I had one site on there that I was holding onto for the past year with WP Engine), and even import sites from other hosts.

I tried importing the Grid Service site. An error occurred. I was prompted to try again. Error. Try again. Third errors a charm and so I fired up the old chat support box.

Let me note here, firstly, that when I contact WP Engine’s support, they just fix things. No excuses, and if someone doesn’t know something, they get me in touch with someone else who does.

While the tech support guy at MediaTemple was asking me all sorts of hilarious questions about plugins and making excuses as to why the import failed and telling me that I need to go in and do this and that and edit the database or whatever, I tried doing an import from another hosting site. This is another so called built in feature of MT’s Managed Hosting.

The system couldn’t connect. I double checked all passwords, etc. and verified I could login with my own FTP client.

The tech support rep’s response? “Make sure all of your plugins are up to date.” As if a plugin somehow has anything to do with them being able to make an FTP connection.

Remember when DSL never worked, and you’d call up your ISP and they’d just say “reboot your computer” like, over and over again? MediaTemple is DSL.

WP Engine is fiber.

When I chat with someone at WP Engine, I see there face. I begin to recognize them.

At MediaTemple, they have mystery man avatars, likely because they’re offshore and MT doesn’t want us to know, for whatever reason.

So as I write this, I have a broken website–due to MT’s failed system–and have wasted an hour of my morning, and will now spend another hour or so getting everything from that broken site back over to WP Engine.

And three days until I get my $1680 back.

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