In case you’ve missed it, Media Temple have recently launched their Premium WordPress Hosting service, which puts them in direct competition with other providers (such as WP Engine and Page.ly) operating in the managed WordPress hosting niche.
Now Media Temple were the cool hosts that everyone wanted to be on just a few years ago, however there was a big shift when managed WordPress hosting providers entered the market, and they kind of lost their foothold in the WordPress market. With this new offering, they are back in the game and eagerly wanting to reclaim their slice of the pie. With their experience and technology they should be well positioned to become one of the leaders in the managed WordPress hosting niche. I’ve put them to the test and here’s what I found.
Features & Specifications
The specs for Media Temple hosting are very generous. They have a one-size-fits-all offering which includes things like SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth and even email service. You also get 3 WordPress installs to start with, which I feel is the magic number.
- 20GB SSD storage
- Includes 3 WordPress installs
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Integrated email
- Custom control panel
- Millions of visitors supported
- 24/7/365 priority support hotline
- Proactive security + performance monitoring
- Guaranteed 99.999% uptime
- Instantly scalable hosting
- Plesk control panel + root access
- Premium support from CloudTech engineers
Apart from that basic list, all the must-haves when it comes to WordPress managed hosting are included in the package. Things like backups, security scanning, a one-click staging system and an exclusive site management tool are all bonuses of signing up for a managed WordPress service at Media Temple.
The control panel provided by Media Temple is just gorgeous and really simple to use. Here are some screenshots from my setup.
From the Media Temple account center you have access to phpMyAdmin, wp-admin, and of course the premium support. You will also find easy access to the tutorials section, which at the moment is very basic, but I’m sure they’ll keep on adding to it in the coming weeks and months.
I really must take the time to point out that the Media Temple staging system is the best system of the sort I’ve used so far. The concept of a one click staging server was invented by WP Engine, at least they were the ones who made it so popular within the WordPress community. Basically the one click staging site creation system allows you to create an exact duplicate of your live website at the push of a button. You can then make any changes to your staged site and make sure that your changes work fine before replicating them on your live website. This is perfect for testing out new design changes, or maybe installing a major plugin.
As you can see in the screenshot, within the Media Center all you need to do is click the Create Staging Site button and then wait until the site creation is done, usually a few minutes at max. Once you make changes on your staging site, you can also copy from staging to live. And notice that red button to delete staging? I find that very useful, it’s something I’ve been nagging WP Engine (my other favorite managed WordPress hosting provider) about for ages, but for some reason they never get around to do it. So I’m happy that I finally got what I wished for with Media Temple’s offering.
Media Temple have also implemented a similar feature called ‘Create a copy’ and what this does is create a perfect copy of your website. This copy will be live on the web as soon as the process is done. It’s a handy feature with a different use case than the staging system. Copying a website is handy when you are maybe building a series of small very focused sites that all have the same theme and plugins, but different content. So you could set up the infrastructure for the first one, then make copies of it and fill in the content for all sites after. It’s certainly a time saver.
One thing I miss is easy access to backups. Media Temple takes daily backups of your site and keeps 30 days’ worth of backups for you, but at the moment they are not accessible directly to the users. If you want access to a backup you will have to open a support ticket.
Migrating a Site to Media Temple
If your WordPress site is already hosted online, and you want to move Media Temple, you have the option of migrating it yourself or have Media Temple’s CloudTech technicians move your sites for $150/domain.
I opted to have them do it for me, and it was a simple painless process. All I had to do was order the service, after which I received an email asking for details of the current host. Within 24 hours my site was transferred to Media Temple and all I had to do was change the DNS records for the domain to point to the new server. I found the migration service very convenient.
After logging in to my site at its new location, I noticed that some of the plugins I was using on the site were no longer present in the installation. This is due to Media Temple having a plugin blacklist, and I would have appreciated a notification saying giving me a list of plugins that would be removed due to this policy, rather than having them removed without my express knowledge. Not a major thing really, just some constructive for Media Temple to act upon going forward. The blacklist mostly features plugins related to caching, backups, security and other processor intensive tasks.
Setting Up a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
One of the first things I do when setting up a new site is to set up a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as this helps tremendously in leveling out the loading times amongst all locations on the globe. On my site I had my favourite CDN set up (MaxCDN) through the W3 Total Cache plugin, however since Media Temple don’t allow W3 Total Cache, I lost the CDN functionality during the migration process.
When I tried discussing this issue with the Media Temple support staff they were quite dismissive and pretty much told me that I’d have to figure it out on my own. I wasn’t very impressed on this front because easy CDN integration is a feature that is found on all my favorite web hosts, including WP Engine (they set it up for you). For me it’s one of the fundamental building blocks of a website and hosts need to provide an easy way to set this up or else partner up with a CDN provider as in the case of WP Engine.
In the following screenshots you can see the load times for the website www.alyonatravels.com, as some of you will remember this is the same website that I used for my CDN tests, so I recommend you check out that post to make some comparisons.
Note that with Media Temple I am not currently using any CDN, having one in place would no doubt improve the loading time from Amsterdam, but it’s not too bad at the moment either.
The site is super responsive for me as an administrator, I am really enjoying using the dashboard as it’s so snappy with my new Media Temple setup.
There is no question that my site has benefited performance wise from this move. But more importantly, it’s the extras that I get with a managed hosting solution that make me want to stay with Media Temple.
The Benefits of Managed Hosting
I am very busy, and the last thing I want to worry about is whether my site’s backups are being made daily and whether they are actually good backups and not corrupted. I also don’t want any nasty surprises or emails by clients saying that one of my websites is not loading. And I most definitely don’t want to wake up one morning to find out my site has been hacked and defaced.
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that getting rid of these worries leads to a much saner existence. If you own one or more websites you will understand what I am talking about. And that, my friends, is the reason why you should go for managed WordPress hosting solutions like the one Media Temple is offering. You make the switch for the peace of mind that such a service gives you.
When you’re with a good managed host you don’t have to worry about all those things I mentioned, because they’re handled for you right from the word go. What’s more, if you have any trouble with your website or want some quick advice, you know that you’re just one email/phone call/online chat away from a person knowledgeable in WordPress who is there waiting to help you out 24/7.
What’s that I hear? You are afraid to make the leap from $4/month for a shared host to the higher prices for managed hosting? I hesitated like you in the beginning, but once I got my first website on managed hosting all my others quickly followed. The benefits far outweigh the extra costs, because we all value peace of mind and having an essential part of our business being taken care of by experts in that area.
Pricing for Media Temple’s managed WordPress hosting service is as simple and straightforward as can be, $29/month for all the specs included above. I think that’s one of the best deals around for managed WordPress hosting. If you’re looking for a host that can give you value for money, then Media Temple should be your choice.
I definitely can’t complain about the pricing of this service, if they can really sustain this pricing scheme I think they will make a real dent into the market share of other more established hosting providers in the managed WordPress hosting niche.
Media Temple provide 24/7/365 phone, chat, and email support for their WordPress Hosting service, something which I really appreciate. Some other managed WordPress hosting providers only provide live chat support in the US timezone, which I find really limiting since I travel a lot and sometimes need quick support outside of that time zone.
Having support operate only in US hours also puts customers who operate from other continents such as the US and Australia at a disadvantage. In an industry where even all cheap hosting providers provide 24/7 support, this should be standard when we’re paying for a managed service. So kudos to Media Temple for getting this right from the word go.
My interactions with Media Temple support were just great, I got connected to live chat within a matter of seconds whenever I needed it. As I mentioned earlier, the only time I was a bit disappointed was in the case of setting up a CDN, however there was not much the support staff could do for me since they can only support the features that already exist, and this seems to be a missing feature with Media Temple. But overall, the live chat experience was very positive.
I am really enjoying the Media Temple WordPress premium hosting experience, my site is super responsive and loads very fast. Support is good and the specs provided are hard to beat. Clearly this is only the start of the journey for Media Temple, I am sure they will sort out any kinks (for example CDN, access to backups and documentation) and continue improving their offering as time goes by. However, I can already wholeheartedly recommend them for anyone who is looking to make the switch to a better WordPress web host.