An Interview with WP Engine

We’ve written about our partnership with WP Engine in previous posts. We really believe in providing services that match the needs of our clients. Sometimes that means us getting out of the way and letting a specialist provide a specialized service. For that reason, WP Engine is our go-to choice for WordPress hosting. We had the opportunity to sit down with Steven Word from WP Engine.

Q. For readers who aren’t familiar with WP Engine, give us a little bit of history on the company.

WP Engine is the WordPress Digital Experience Platform.

Repeat entrepreneur, Jason Cohen, created WP Engine while he was a stay-at-home dad in 2010 out of necessity. He could not find a solution to host his blog, which was devoted to helping other entrepreneurs, when it grew to be so popular that it constantly crashed and was plagued with lots of technical problems. As every great entrepreneur does, Jason realized there was an opportunity in this problem and that others in the WordPress community were having similar experiences. As a result, WP Engine was born — a content management platform for websites and applications built on WordPress. The company grew quickly achieving cash-flow-break-even in just 7 months.

Fast forward to today and WP Engine serves 80,000 customers in 135 countries with six offices around the globe. Over that time there’s also been a shift in the needs of our customers. They now come to WP Engine for the support, service and scalability but also for the ability to integrate technologies, for intelligence into site and content performance and for the agility to create and deploy campaigns faster.

Q. What is your role at WP Engine? What work are you involved in most frequently?

I’m our WordPress Innovation Manager. At WP Engine, we are committed to furthering the mission of WordPress and supporting the community that makes it thrive. In my role, I get to do that every day. I’m focused on working on WordPress Core and developing new innovations. Recently, I partnered with AWS to launch Amazon Polly, which allows WordPress creators to easily add text-to-speech capabilities to their websites and make the audio easily available for listeners in the form of podcasts.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the different hosting packages – Startup, Growth, and Scale? Who are the different packages best suited for?

Our self-serve/shared plans are designed to fit a growth path for customers of any size. Startup is perfect for those looking to start their first WordPress site or blog, Growth is a fit for individuals or freelancers starting to build and grow their business and those beginning to monetize their sites, and Scale provides more sites and storage capacity to support and scale your digital experiences for businesses and agencies. These plans are built to flex as you grow. For instance, a customer has the flexibility to customize their plans by adding additional sites and accelerator features like GeoTarget and Content Performance analytics solutions. We also offer a broad range of custom plans to power enterprise digital experiences, so we offer solutions for everyone ranging from first time WordPress users to Fortune 500 enterprise customers.

Q. Beyond your standard packages, what hosting services really set WP Engine apart for enterprise clients?

The biggest differentiator for WP Engine is our investment building the Digital Experience Platform for WordPress. It represents an evolution of managed hosting. The WP Engine Digital Experience Platform offers a comprehensive suite of software, infrastructure, analytics, security and support solutions. These solutions enable a global ecosystem of developers, marketers and agencies to innovate and go-to-market faster, improve the performance of their brand’s online presence, deliver actionable insights to improve the ROI of their sites and applications, and enable integrations with the best-in-category technologies.

Q. WP Engine is always pushing the envelope on technology. What new features are either just arriving or in the works?

Building on the success of our Polly plugin, we recently launched an update that integrated Amazon Translate into the Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress, enabling brands and publishers to take web content in English and translate into four spoken languages: Spanish, German, French or Portuguese. More are in the works.

We also recently acquired StudioPress, the creators of the Genesis Framework which is the world’s most popular theme framework. The acquisition will strengthen and extend our digital experience platform and our support for third-party plugins and products.

Q. We love that WP Engine has remained committed to the WordPress community. Can you speak to that?

Giving back to WordPress is one of our core values: “Aspiring to Lead, Committed to Give Back”. Everyday we aspire to earn a leadership position in the WordPress community by contributing, sharing our expertise and actively participating in events, meetups, etc. In 2018 alone, we will sponsor 18 WordCamps, as well as more than 100 WordPress meetups around the world. Our overall contributions to the WordPress community in time, money, writing, coding and thought leadership are on pace to exceed $3.2 million in 2018.

Q. We’ve been a partner of WP Engine for some time. Can you talk a little bit about how your agency partnerships help you?

The biggest thing that agencies do for WP Engine is the same thing that they do for WordPress – which is to extol the virtues of WordPress to their clients and to show what’s possible and to bring to life the incredible sites that can be built on WordPress, powered by the WP Engine digital experience platform. This helps to build a vibrant community of innovation around both WordPress and WP Engine.

Q. Is there anything else our readers should know about WP Engine?

We’re a new breed of technology company at the intersection of software innovation and service. Our platform provides brands the solutions they need to create remarkable sites and apps on WordPress that drive their business forward faster. The proof is that WP Engine powers more WordPress websites than all other WordPress competitors combined among the one million most trafficked websites on the Internet. Brands like AMD, Chick-Fil-A, the City of New York, General Mills, Heathrow Airport, Microsoft, The Oprah Magazine, Patagonia, Thomson Reuters, Ticketmaster, Under Armour, and Warby Parker trust WP Engine for their sites.

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