WP Engine: Powering award-worthy digital experiences with WordPress on Google Cloud Platform

About WP Engine

WP Engine powers amazing digital experiences for websites and applications built on WordPress. Its WordPress Digital Experience Platform provides enhanced performance, reliability, and security for the world's biggest brands and agencies, while remaining affordable and intuitive for SMBs and individuals. WP Engine is a Google Cloud Technology Partner.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

By powering customers on Google Cloud Platform, WP Engine provides enhanced security, performance, and stability for high-profile websites including The Webby Awards.

Google Cloud Results

  • Improves security, performance, and reliability for customers such as The Webby Awards
  • Helps increase operating and provisioning efficiency to keep prices competitive
  • Provides data locality with a variety of global data centers
  • Offers opportunities for future enhancements with artificial intelligence and machine learning

Powering 375K+ sites on GCP

WP Engine is a market leader in one of the fastest growing segments of the internet: powering websites built on the WordPress open-source content management system. WordPress now powers more than 32 percent of the web, up from 13 percent in 2010, illustrating its growing popularity with enterprises and small businesses alike.

When it comes to the most trafficked websites on the Internet, WP Engine powers more WordPress websites than all other managed WordPress hosts combined.2 It serves more than 90,000 customers globally, powering hundreds of thousands of websites for marquee brands such as Thomson Reuters, Motley Fool, City of New York, 23 and Me, and NBC. Its WP Engine WordPress Digital Experience Platform provides customers with all-in-one infrastructure, analytics, security, and support, helping to bring their digital visions to life.

"Google Cloud Platform offers the network performance, security, and commitment to continuing innovation that we need to drive maximum value for our customers. We were looking for a bigger, better cloud partnership, and that's exactly what we got."

Lee McClendon, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, WP Engine

Always focused on doing the right thing for its customers, WP Engine wanted to partner with a cloud services provider that could help it scale smoothly while keeping performance and reliability high. Security and data locality were also critical, as WP Engine serves customers in 135 countries. After a thorough evaluation of potential cloud partners, WP Engine selected Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as its strategic partner for migrating and powering customer websites due to its global data center footprint and agility to quickly adapt to evolving customer requirements. It also became a GCP Marketplace Technology Partner for Premium WordPress.

"Google Cloud Platform offers the network performance, security, and commitment to continuing innovation that we need to drive maximum value for our customers," says Lee McClendon, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, WP Engine. "We were looking for a bigger, better cloud partnership, and that's exactly what we got."

A smooth and confident migration

WP Engine began by performing a lift-and-shift migration of virtual machines (VMs) to Compute Engine instances. Using BigQuery, Google Data Studio, and Cloud Datalab to analyze and understand system performance during the migration, WP Engine confidently migrated thousands of live customer sites with no unplanned downtime.

Once migrated, no planned downtime is needed for updates and maintenance. When the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were discovered in early 2018, WP Engine experienced zero downtime when Google updated its host servers.

"We had planned downtime with our previous providers at least a couple of times per year, typically when they need to update their hosts," says Lee. "Google uses live migration technology to keep virtual machines running, which means we never have planned downtime on GCP."

Performing at lightning speed

Today, WP Engine hosts more than 375,000 sites in 14 Google data centers around the globe to keep latency low and help customers navigate compliance requirements.

"Data locality matters to our customers, and Google Cloud Platform provides data centers where our customers are," says Lee. "GCP delivers the low latency our customers require for their WordPress sites to load and perform at lightning speed."

Compute Engine provides the flexibility to choose compute and memory sizes that match customer workloads, helping WP Engine provision the right resources without wasting memory or CPU cycles. Live migration technology delivers a higher level of resiliency to WP Engine customers by keeping VMs running even when a host system event occurs.

"We need to make sure that we're earning our customers' trust every day and providing them with the stability, security, and performance that they need," says Lee. "Google has the same high standards that we do, which helps us provide a first-class product."

Partnering for better customer service

To further improve reliability, scalability, and efficiency, WP Engine is moving to a microservices-based application architecture. It's using a variety of GCP managed services, including Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for container management, Cloud SQL for managed databases with storage auto-scaling, Cloud Endpoints for API management, Cloud Pub/Sub for message queueing, and Stackdriver for monitoring.

"Our partnership with the Google Cloud team helps us make sure that customer migrations are smooth and service levels are high," says Lee. "The relationship is truly a partnership and does not feel transactional. Google is very transparent with us, and the support is fantastic."

"We honor the best of the Internet, so we need the best WordPress Digital Experience Platform. We trust WP Engine because they're always pushing the envelope to do better. Moving us to Google Cloud Platform is a great example of that commitment."

Steve Marchese, Executive Producer, The Webby Awards

Powering The Webby Awards

With a solid foundation for performance and growth, WP Engine is helping all its customers get the most from their WordPress sites. One of these customers is The Webby Awards, a well-known annual award honoring excellence on the Internet. Because The Webby Awards is a respected authority on website usability, performance, and innovation, it takes its own web presence very seriously. Every year, site traffic climbs as the entries roll in and nominees are announced, culminating with the awards show in May. Any downtime or performance issues could tarnish the reputation of the organization bestowing the Internet's highest honor.

"We're proud that customers such as The Webby Awards can innovate and go to market faster, improve the performance of their brand's online presence, and generate more ROI from their sites and applications running on Google Cloud Platform."

Eric Jones, VP Corporate Communications, WP Engine

"We honor the best of the Internet, so we need the best WordPress Digital Experience Platform," says Steve Marchese, Executive Producer at The Webby Awards. "We trust WP Engine because they're always pushing the envelope to do better. Moving us to Google Cloud Platform is a great example of that commitment."

Adds Eric Jones, VP Global Communications at WP Engine: "We're proud that customers such as The Webby Awards can innovate and go to market faster, improve the performance of their brand's online presence, and generate more ROI from their sites and applications running on Google Cloud Platform."

More ways to do more

Since migrating to GCP, WP Engine has broadened its partnership with Google in a number of important ways, leveraging Google Analytics data augmented with WordPress intelligence to deliver WordPress Content Performance to customers. The company also uses Google Analytics 360 to drive business growth and optimize user experiences on its corporate website and user portal.

"Our strong partnership with Google has helped fuel our growth and success," says Lee. "Future enhancements with artificial intelligence and machine learning will help us do even more for our customers."

2Based on WP Engine research identifying the web content management systems' digital fingerprints for the most visited 1 million sites as identified by Alexa. The fingerprints can sometimes be found inside the HTML and in other cases, they are located in the HTTP headers.

About WP Engine

WP Engine powers amazing digital experiences for websites and applications built on WordPress. Its WordPress Digital Experience Platform provides enhanced performance, reliability, and security for the world's biggest brands and agencies, while remaining affordable and intuitive for SMBs and individuals. WP Engine is a Google Cloud Technology Partner.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States
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