How Shenandoah University Stays Current, Flexible, Fast

Throwing money and resources at a problem rarely addresses its root cause. It may be a Band-Aid—but it’s temporary and often unsustainable.

Over the course of the past several years, Shenandoah University has migrated between multiple web hosts, hoping to achieve an optimal baseline for our site, while remaining nimble in our production process.

Shepherded by outside vendors, each iteration and host edged us closer to that baseline, but ultimately the mix was never right. We still encountered workflow issues, and it was always difficult to manage branch code bases. Our time-to-first-byte was always too slow, with plugins always to blame.

In hopes of finding a solution, we moved to a regionally-based, enterprise-level hosting company at the suggestion of a vendor. Everything operated pretty smoothly for about a year, until the server began requiring reboots four times daily to keep the site up. We were paying about $1,500 per month and our provider would just add more memory and space hoping they would fix the problems. They didn’t. Support became nearly silent on the issue. We needed something different, and WP Engine was just the right fit.

We were immediately pleased with WP Engine’s professionalism and the attentiveness from its sales, on-boarding and support teams. It was refreshing and comforting. (The fact that I know them by name and they know Shenandoah University’s needs is a big deal. It’s an actual partnership, not just a financial relationship.)

And, the difference in the performance of our site was like night and day. Our site is perceptively smooth on WP Engine. The Admin console is intuitive. And our site load times have been whittled down to fractions of a second. We also get tighter security, better quality control, and the ability to leverage automatic updates, which is a major time saver and ensures we stay current, flexible, and fast.

With WP Engine, we also get myriad other cool features that make my job much easier: I can make and break staging instances at will and automated backups and rollbacks give me peace of mind.

We don’t have to monitor site health as much with WP Engine. Everyone here seems really pleased with how the site runs, at least based on the relative calm of our inboxes!

And what this ultimately means is that we don’t have to get mired in the minutiae of operational roadblocks. We don’t have a cobbled together development process anymore. We went from an obtuse process to practically a drag-and-drop process.

We also no longer have to be on-site to fix things. We can update the CMS, plugins, and themes more frequently and confidently. We can actually create, instead of expending time and energy on damage control.

Overall, our partnership with WP Engine makes our sites run better, helps us work faster and is more affordable. Saving money and getting better performance is always a good thing.

Want to read more stories from WP Engine customers? Each weekday in November we’ll unveil a new customer story as part of our WP Engine Customer Spotlight series.


Tom Finley is WordPress Development Specialist at Shenandoah University.

The post How Shenandoah University Stays Current, Flexible, Fast appeared first on WP Engine.

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