A couple months ago, we introduced Premium WordPress Hosting, our entry into the hyper competitive managed WordPress hosting market. As the cornerstone of our WordPress offering, we pledged to keep this product ahead of the pack in terms of features, performance and value.
Introducing new features!
The newest iteration of Premium WordPress Hosting gives our users more of what they want. More control, more flexibility, better backups and a new WordPress theme offer developers and advanced WordPress users more options to build while making (mt) Media Temple’s Premium WordPress one of the most competitive platforms on the market.
Specifically, the following new features are now available with our premium WordPress product:
- New automated backup and restoration management
- GIT integration
- SSH access
- Ability to purchase Premium WordPress without a corresponding domain (Available early next week)
- A new exclusive theme for WordPress Premium users
Dante Baker, Product Manager for Premium WordPress Hosting, joins us on the Media Temple Blog to discuss how these new features will enhance your WordPress management experience.
Dante, we’re about three months deep into Premium WordPress Hosting. How is the new product performing so far? Are we meeting expectations?
Wow, the time flies. We’ve been constantly looking at performance and speed metrics, and are really happy with what we’ve been seeing. We’ve also been pleased with reliability and uptime, but that’s an area where you’re not truly happy until you see as close to 100% uptime as possible so it will remain at the top of our watch list.
Meeting expectations doesn’t give our customers the warm and fuzzy feeling that going the extra mile does.
Are there going to be more feature releases in the near future? Are you following a ‘release early, release often’ strategy for this product?
Absolutely. Considering WordPress is a constantly evolving platform, we’re committed to releasing timely features often. We have a long long list of features and enhancements that will continue to roll out, but more importantly we want to tighten things up a bit first. Our next couple of development cycles will focus on user workflow, user experience, and different system integration points that need some love.
While we want to continue to offer more features that users love, we also want to make sure that our existing features are rock solid and ensure that people can easily navigate the product. The end goal is to always offer simplicity instead of adding additional complexity.
We already offer backups, and this feature was always one of THE top requested features. How is the new backup experience better than what we’re offering?
The new backup system allows us to give more options for data restoration. If we look at the Grid, we see that the backup/restore paradigm is limited to a single backup that was made the previous day. With the new backup/restore methodology, we can allow customers to choose a snapshot from one of our previous 30 days of backups.
There are some very interesting things going on in the backup world right now, and this is a good first step to making that technology available to customers. We’re still looking at enhancing backups further, so there will be more to come on that front.
Eliminating the need to have a domain associated with the service gives more flexibility to professional website builders. Why did we require a domain initially?
Legacy functionality. We’ve essentially had the domain requirement for some time on both the Grid and Premium WordPress. Since the amount of code required for the change was not trivial, it took us a bit of time to dive in and decouple things, but it’s been on our radar for quite a while.
Little changes such as this are items we want to hone in on since it goes back to removing complexity for customers.
Are there other implications in decoupling domains from service?
Most of the advantages relate to customers being able to quickly get started on personal sites or paid/unpaid projects. There are times when you may have an idea for a sight but you might not have a domain in mind yet. This removes one more barrier to getting started on those ideas.
Will these features affect the product performance?
Nope, there should be no hit to performance with these additions. You’ll still find us in the top running as far as performance is concerned.
Are any of the core specs of the product changing like bandwidth or number of sites allowed with the plan?
With Spring WordCamp season in full swing, we’re offering 50% off the first year or the first month of service depending on which payment option you choose, but our core product offering stays the same.
Do I need to do anything to access these new features?
Yes, but it’s painless.
SSH is disabled by default, so you’ll need to log into the Account Center and enable SSH access as well as retrieve your login credentials. From there you can use the command line or GIT as you normally would.
Our backups are performed once a day automatically. In order to restore to a previous day’s backup, you can choose the date directly from the Account Center and select restore.
For the new theme(s) you can select them as you would any other theme from the WordPress Administration Panel.
Introducing Emulsion, our newest theme available with Premium WordPress Hosting.
Jon Setzen, Media Temple’s Creative Director, discusses his inspiration for the themes we’re producing and the future themes we’ll be offering.
Can you touch on the ideal user for this new theme?
This new theme, Emulsion, is designed for photographers who are looking for an image-rich portfolio layout that is easy to maintain. I, personally, spent several years in NYC designing and building websites for photographers and photo agencies. We kept a lot of those folks in mind when designing this theme. Many photographers I know never get around to updating their sites, because it just takes too long. By leveraging the WordPress CMS, we’ve enabled users to add galleries in about three clicks. We were able to add a fifteen image gallery, with captions in about a minute. Most importantly, it’s a really great way to display your work. Check out a live demo of the theme here.
What was your inspiration for this theme?
We were inspired by a handful of different things. First, we spoke to friends and customers who are photographers and many of them complained that even the more minimal photography sites were too busy. Secondly, we thought about the classic photographic portfolio, the “book” that you used to have to carry around and leave at agencies. When you’d show someone your book it was all about the work. It’s your one shot to get them to focus on what you’re doing, because in the end, people just want to see the work. The work is all that matters. Art Directors and Editors (who could possibly hire you) look at so many sites everyday that the last thing they want to do is figure out where to look on a site. We opted for super simple: big images, simple navigation, and beautifully responsive. We know a lot of photographer are using iPads to show their work when they go from agency to agency, so we needed this to work seamlessly on that device.
Can you talk a bit about the future of our theme market?
We’re fortunate to have an amazingly creative customer-base and so we now have to great task of making useful and beautiful themes for them. We understand that most of our customers create custom websites for their clients, but there are occasions where a theme will do. We’re finishing a portfolio theme for designers or small studios and working on a some content blogs as well. Many of the people on the Creative/UX team have worked at agencies and done client work in the past, so it’s a nice thing for us to work on. Our main goal is quality over quantity. We don’t want to end up with hundreds of themes, but a handful of useful high-quality options.
Check out the blog post announcing Premium WordPress Hosting in March for more background and FAQ info.