Last week we’ve acquired WordPress news site WPForce.com. Jonathan Dingman, who used to run the site, got too busy with his job and personal life to be able to keep running the site and was looking to sell it. We acquired it and will start to slowly bring it into our system. We’ve got some plans for it which we’ll slowly roll out.
The process of purchasing a site and “owning” it
Purchasing a site comes with a lot of “related” work. I’ve done it before but I thought it’d be fun to describe all the mechanics involved in a post, especially as I tried quite a few new services in this process and was actually happy with all of them so wanted to share the love.
Domain name registration / transfer
The first step was the transfer of the domain name. Jonathan had the domain registered at Namecheap, where I already held an account. I had to allow “pushing” to my account in the settings, and after that Jonathan could just push the domain into my account and we were done. Very easy. I’ve since started moving all of my domains from Moniker to Namecheap as Moniker was giving me headaches. Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have seen that that’s going far from smoothly… But that’s a story for another time.
As soon as I purchased the site I reached out to WP Engine. I had talked to them before and they really wanted us to try their managed WordPress hosting services, WPForce was the perfect opportunity. At the same time I wasn’t really looking forward to migrating a site. Luckily we had another service that we needed to try, Fantasktic:
Easy site migration with Fantasktic
Fantasktic offers a host of WordPress support services, they basically want to be the source to outsource your support work too. I think they look fantastic (pun intended) and especially the $99 site migration is something I’ll probably be referring a lot of people to. Site migrations aren’t my idea of a fun time, even though there are several plugins out there to make things easier.
The process is simple: you give them admin details and FTP for your old site and the login of your new site and they take care of the migration. You then get an email asking you to approve whether it’s all been done right, after which you can switch DNS. If needed Fantasktic can even take care of the DNS change too. I like it when a service is so simple to use I can just tell you to go to the website and follow instructions.
WP Engine’s hosting
Yoast.com itself is hosted on Synthesis, a service we love, but we try to keep an open mind where WordPress hosting is concerned. It’s just not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. WP Engine is a direct competitor to Synthesis and other managed WordPress hosting solutions and it has a few things I like a lot about it and some things I like slightly less
Let’s start with the one thing I like less. As soon as my site was running on WP Engine I got an email telling me the site was running two forbidden plugins. Those two plugins were YARPP and W3 Total Cache. Now I’m a big fan of W3 Total Cache, so that was a bit of a bummer. WP Engine has their own caching system though and doesn’t want you to also run a caching plugin. For a lot of users that actually makes sense. If you don’t know what you’re doing, W3 Total Cache can be quite overwhelming. WP Engine takes the thinking out of that, but in doing that disallows you to customize specific things. There’s something to be said for both ends of the story I guess.
They didn’t like YARPP, a plugin we’ve stopped promoting a while ago too, because of performance reasons. I can see why. It’s not gotten much better performance wise over the years. Unfortunately I don’t like the alternatives WP Engine offers either, but we’ll figure out how to do related posts better soon.
One click staging
The best feature of WP Engine is their one click staging functionality. You literally click one button and they copy your entire site to a staging server, allowing for you to test new functionality, install new plugins, etc. You can then also push this back to your main site… It’s absolutely freaking awesome.
Now I know most managed hosting providers either already offer this or will soon, but I can’t stress enough how cool this is. Testing a plugin update before you screw up your site? Easy. Testing that theme change? Easy. It’s absolutely perfect. You even get specific FTP accounts for both the staging and live site, so you can give a developer access to staging without giving them access to your live site.
Next steps for WPForce
So… Now we own WPForce. It has a lot of “old” news, a business directory and other things. We’ll be playing with all of that, you’ll find out what and how soon enough. For now, we want to thank Jonathan for all his hard work on the site and wish him all the best!