So I am back, and although not much has changed on the surface, I have made some big changes to the blog. Originally when I first started posting, I was using Media Temple for all my blogging technical requirements. Within the last week however I have moved the blog from Media Temple to Flywheel hosting. The reason, well there was a number. The biggest reason is that I want to start doing some more freelance web work, based on WordPress mainly and other technologies. I therefore need a host that supports this kind of business and although Media Temple do, the features I got with Flywheel were certainly more suited to this kind of idea. For one Flywheel supports organisations that allow you to host blogs, and give your entire team access, it also allows you to setup a blog so that you can manage it and look after it but at the same time Flywheel will charge your client for the hosting, which fits the freelance business model perfectly.
I just want to address a rather large elephant in the room, I am highly skilled professional web developer, so why am I using managed hosting? The answer is actually rather simple and the same as why I use managed Email. Simply I am not that interested in managing WordPress sites hosting requirements. Although I do and have done in the past, WordPress is relatively trivial thing to host, but as soon as you want to provide a guaranteed experience for the end use it gets more complicated. Setting up all of this and managing it, will probably cost less financially but will cost me more in the time it takes to manage it effectively, leveraging a third party to manage this for me is almost like adding new employees to my business and lets me get on with that I specialise in which is design and development. Hosting my personal blog this way also frees me from worry of hosting and allows me to just focus on posting.
I therefore wanted to test the entire site process and the Flywheel experience, and decided to move this blog over to Media Temple, as I was planning to use Flywheel professionally made sense to host all my WordPress blogs in one place.
I started by creating a new Flywheel hosting account this, was a quick and easy process, a lot easier than Dreamhost which I tried earlier in the year. Within a few minutes and one email (to confirm my address) I was done. I then added a payment method. The next step was to setup my organisation, again a quick step, I wanted to do this now so I didn’t have to worry about it later, all my sites will start in my organisation. Flywheel organisations, allow you to create sites, and then manage them all in one place, it has the added benefit that anyone on your team has access to manage the sites. It has the other awesome feature of adding an audit trail, if anyone changes anything on a site in a organisation it is logged, and shown in the control panel. I then create a new site, I later realised that as I was migrating, I didn’t technically need to do this but hay again it was quick and easy, give it a name, and select a plan and your done. I added SSL support to my site, as I believe in the fact that all sites should be protected by SSL, this was a big feature that drove me away from Media Temple. On Media temple you can only use certificates that are brought through Media Temple at an inflated cost. My plan on Flywheel with the SSL (not including the actual certificate) was approximately $25.
As I had decided to migrate my current blog, I next had to do the migration, again this is a relatively easy, but time consuming process to do manually, in this case Flywheel offered to do the migration for Free (taking 1-3 days), I filled in the migration request, which simply asked me for some details on the current blog and where I wanted Flywheel to put the migrated blog. I selected the blog I created earlier, but you can ask them to create a new blog at this time. I managed to get one of the details wrong, and so Flywheel sent me a support email, asking for calcification of the incorrect data, I replied by email (no stupid ticket system) and they started the migration. In probably 2 days (with the time it took to correct the details) the migration was finished. It was amazing, my blog, themes, media, comments, plugins and posts where all migrated completely, nothing was missing and it just worked. All Flywheel sites start with a username and password protection that allowed you to preview and review your site without the public from been able to easily see it. This allowed me to go through and verify that it was all working as expected and had all migrated across correctly.
I wanted to add an SSL certificate, Flywheel do not supply SSL certificates, which is fine I just used one of my normal suppliers. I am only going to cover the Flywheel side of adding the SSL here as the purchase of the certificate was handled by another company. I went into the extremely easy to use management panel, and under add ons selected add-ons and SSL. They UI guided me through the process of creating what is called a Certificate Signing Request or CSR. If you’re not familiar with this, you basically give it to the SSL Issuing authority so they can create a certificate that is unique to you. This allows certificates to access as a form of identification as well as a way of securing content. The next day the CSR was in my inbox, I then supplied it to my issuing authority and they generated the certificate. The last step was to email the certificate to Flywheel and they set up everything at their end, they did this within hours of me sending the certificate, considering they are in the US and I am in the UK that is very quick turn around. SSL certificates can be tricky to setup, and so having Flywheel to manage this process just made it a lot smoother and stress free.
Finally I need to do one last step which was to repoint my DNS to the new Flywheel hosted blog and I was done.
I was very impressed with the high level of customer service and support offered by Flywheel, along with the hassle free migration service, and SSL hosting they are certainly one of the top fully managed hosting providers I have used. As I mentioned earlier I am a professional web developer that works with sites or all sizes and with differing demands, so I know what the general process is, and what I need to do. I did however notice that at all stages Flywheel provided detailed and easy to understand instructions and guides as to what you needed to do. I also found that as I mentioned that the support was exceptional and so I am sure if I had any questions Flywheel would have handled them. The features and UI that Flywheel offer to manage your site, are exceptionally easy to use. Flywheel WordPress hosting can support and host your blog, no matter if your just starting out or whether you are going for something a bit more technical or have a large amount of add-ons to add functionality to your WordPress site. I would recommend Flywheel managed WordPress Hosting to anyone who is thinking of, or already using WordPress, especially if you want a no nonsense managed service. WordPress been such a popular application, is constantly been probed for weaknesses making WordPress sites, more common to be attacked. Flywheel offer services that will monitor and secure your site, and if the worst happens and your hacked your in good hands.
You can check them out for yourself here.