Here you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about our performance-optimized, managed WordPress hosting services. If your question isn’t addressed, contact us and we’ll do our best to supply a prompt answer. Your question just might end up on our FAQ. Questions are organized into 2 groups, Sales and Technical, to make it easier to get the information you need.
In a nutshell, we provide performance-optimized, managed WordPress hosting with premium themes and premium plugins. That means we manage all core WordPress, plugin, and theme updates, so you can focus on your site design and content. We tackle the worries of keeping your site secure and fast with high availability by using load-balanced web servers and redundant database servers.
Think of us as something similar to WordPress.com with a lot more: a full selection of top-notch themes, such as those based on the Genesis framework by StudioPress and Themedy, and powerful premium plugins, such as Gravity Forms, the premier forms solution for WordPress.
We’re built for WordPress users that want to spend their time creating great content that we’ll serve up with eye-popping speed, rather than wasting endless hours Googling for solutions. Our themes and plugins are pre-installed and ready for you to activate, so you can sign up now for a free trial (no credit card required) and be setting up your site in minutes.
Yeah, it’s really that fast.
Like many good ideas, ours was born out of wanting a really fast WordPress site but not having the time to become server gurus who exchange .htaccess regex expressions on napkins over coffee.
Having worked with WordPress since 2005, we knew that for many businesses and personal bloggers, a lot of the frustration comes from site setup and maintenance, because once installed and configured, WordPress is remarkably easy to use. Site setup and maintenance involves finding the right theme and plugins, getting (and keeping!) those up and running, while fighting off a steady stream of attackers who’d love nothing more than to fill your site with malware. But time devoted to setting up and maintaining a site is time away from creating great content, which, after all, is the most important task for a web site owner.
For those that decide to “bite the bullet” and suffer through the site administration side of WordPress, that often means choosing 1 of 3 alternatives:
- acquiring the technical skills over many late nights becoming close friends with Google search
- finding the right consultant and paying for those technical skills just to get up and running
- settling for less power/less ability to customize and, in the end, just another “cookie cutter” site
We find none of those choices very appealing. We want curated themes and plugins pre-installed and ready to use, all running the latest release of WordPress. We don’t want to waste valuable time searching for the right plugin. Instead, we want to wisely invest our time putting the right plugin to use to enhance our site. We want a server – no, make that redundant, load-balanced servers – optimized to produce eye-popping speed. And we want all of that secured from attackers who want to infect or otherwise take over our site.
In short, we don’t want to spend our technical dollars setting up WordPress. We wanted to have those dollars available to create a unique presence on the web. We want power and performance without compromising too much control.
So that’s what we set out to build – the best managed WordPress hosting environment we could imagine, that would offer the right mix of flexibility and performance. We hope you like it. Decide for yourself by signing up for our free trial (no credit card required).
Absolutely. We offer a no obligation 14 day free trial, and we don’t ask for your credit card to sign up.
We start you off at our PERFORMpro, so you get to experience the real vale of our service. Check out our full set of themes and plugins. At any time in the 14 day period, you can choose to sign up for any of our plan levels. You can also choose to delete your site and all of its content.
If you decide not to sign up, we’ll keep your site settings saved for 30 days, in case you decide to come back. After that 30 day period, if we haven’t heard from you, we’ll delete any site settings and content you created during your trial period, and it’s gone for good.
Ready to get started? Head over to our sign up page.
Yes. Backups are included in all plans. We backup in 2 ways: continuously and periodically.
First, let’s cover periodic backups because that’s how most people think of backing up data. We automatically backup all WordPress-related data to the cloud two times per day and preserve those backups for 7 months. That includes all files and databases.
Periodic backups are stored on Amazon Web Services. The most recent 1 month of backups are stored on Amazon S3. After 1 month they are automatically moved to Amazon Glacier, where they remain for not more than 6 months, at which point they are permanently deleted.
Second, we continuously backup everything. wpPERFORM uses multiple web and database servers, and we’ve configured our servers to automatically synchronize with each other throughout the day. In the event of a server failure, the data on that server would be replaced and restored from another live server, not from a backup stored in the cloud. That makes the restore process very fast.
Our backup methods offer huge improvements over those available on shared hosting environments. You can’t do continuous backups in a shared hosting environment unless your host offers it as a premium service. If you backup periodically on a once per month interval and your server crashes, your restore point will cause you to lose any work in that month. For those who depend on their WordPress-powered sites, that could be catastrophic.
The combination of both continuous and periodic backups insures comprehensive data production.
Yes, we do, and it’s included with all plans.
From PERFORMbasic on up we offer ticket-based email support where you can send a support email from your favorite email client that automatically opens a thread-based discussion.
Your support email thread represents a complete record of what went wrong and what it took to fix it. It allows any one of our team members to solve your problem without repeating the same questions or steps, and it enables us to monitor how quickly we’re responding to support issues.
Ticket-based email support means that we won’t lose track of solving your support problem and making you happy.
Of course, you’re free to run ads on your site, but we don’t place ads on your site.
We also don’t place ads on our own site. We’re in the business of providing managed WordPress hosting services, not the advertising business.
Absolutely. It’s your site, so you choose the theme and plugins you activate.
Our plan levels come with different access to themes and plugins. Our approach is pretty straightforward: our lowest priced plan has a limited selection of themes and plugins, and more expensive plans provide access to a wider selection of themes and plugins.
You have complete control over switching themes and activating plugins among those offered for the plan you choose. For example, if you are deciding between the StudioPress The 411 Pro and Minimum Pro themes, you can try them both out by first activating one, then the other. When you’ve made up your mind, just stick with the theme that suits your needs.
The same applies to plugins.
You can upgrade your account at any time to get immediate access to those themes or plugins on a more expensive plan. Likewise, if you find that you don’t need those themes or plugins on a more expensive plan, you can downgrade at any time and save money.
Our Service Level Agreement (or “SLA”) is our commitment to you to keep your site accessible on the public internet. We take our SLA commitment to you seriously, so we’ve created an easy tool for you to monitor how we’re doing – a public overview of our uptime and response time from Pingdom.
Our commitment is that we’ll keep your site up and running 99.9% of the time as measured over a calendar month using our publicly accessible availability report, or upon your request we’ll refund the price you paid for the time your site was not accessible. To receive a refund for downtime under our SLA, you must request it by email or our contact page.
If your sign up in the middle of a month and experience downtime before the calendar turns to the next month, we’ll automatically extend your subscription by 1 full day for each day your site experienced downtime, even if the downtime was only for a minute. This credit is much greater than a normal refund, and it only applies in your first partial month until the calendar turns to a new month. We don’t like signing up for a new service and experiencing a glitch soon after getting up and running, so that’s our way of saying “sorry” and reminding ourselves not to let it happen again.
By using a third-party testing service to monitor our uptime every minute from data centers around the globe and making it publicly available in our availability report, we’re reflecting our commitment to present comprehensive and accurate information in a transparent fashion.
On PERFORMpro and PERFORMelite, yes, we do offer a non-profit discount because we recognize that non-profits need to keep their administrative burden as low as possible. That discount is in the form of 1 free month for every 12 months that your organization has paid for a site on wpPERFORM. The free month applies to every site your organization pays to host on wpPERFORM, so if you host multiple sites, each will receive a free month for every 12 months of paid hosting.
On our other plans, we’ve priced our service as aggressively as we can, so we’re unable to offer further discounts on those plans.
For the plans where we offer a non-profit discount, restrictions apply, and we do require evidence that your organization is a recognized non-profit or charity. If you have further questions or would like to take advantage of our non-profit discount, just drop us a note using our contact page.
None of our plans require any long term commitment, and you’re free to cancel at any time.
All subscription fees are charged at the start of the subscription period. For monthly subscriptions, fees are earned when charged and are non-refundable. For annual subscriptions, in the event you cancel we’ll round up the time period used to the nearest full month and calculate the cost of those months at the standard monthly rate. Then, we’ll deduct that cost from the amount you paid and refund the difference.
Let’s consider an example where an annual subscription with a cost of $100 per year is cancelled after 2 1/2 months, and that the comparable monthly subscription costs $10 per month. When rounded up to the nearest full month, the number of used full months is 3, and the cost of those 3 months at the standard monthly rate is $30. We’ll deduct the $30 cost from the $70 you paid and refund the difference, or $70.
In effect, we’re letting you receive a discount if you pay for a full year of service in advance but keep the option of converting that annual subscription to a monthly one and getting a refund of the unused payment.
Of course, refunds only apply to funds paid to us by you.
I see you have premium themes, such as those from StudioPress and Themedy. Do I have to buy those if I use your service?
No, you don’t, but we encourage you to do so. The choice is entirely up to you.
We provide support for the premium themes available on wpPERFORM, and in virtually all cases we successfully resolve support issues for them.
If you have your own license for a premium theme, you’ll be able to get support from both wpPERFORM and the premium theme developer, such as StudioPress or Themedy. In effect, having your own license doubles your avenues for support.
The premium theme developers whose themes we include provide great support, and we think the cost of a premium theme license is a small price to pay for that support.
No, you do not need to purchase them, but we encourage you to do so. The choice is entirely up to you. We’re fully licensed for the premium plugins we offer, and we pay to obtain the latest releases and support from those developers.
Premium or otherwise, we only install plugins licensed under the GPL, the licensing standard for WordPress. For premium plugins, we can obtain support from the plugin author directly, but you can’t.
If you have a question about a premium plugin, we’re your first line of support, and in virtually all cases, we successfully handle all support questions. In the rare case where we’re unable to answer it, we’ll take up your question with the plugin developer. Eliminating us as the intermediary in getting support for premium plugins is the biggest reason why you might choose to purchase your own plugin license. Supporting plugin developers whose work improves your site is another big reason. The entire WordPress community would suffer if those developers didn’t continue to enhance their products. Since virtually all premium plugins deliver value far above their selling prices, buying a license is something that isn’t expensive and is smart business.
Our list of the plugins available on our network includes the premium plugins available on our plans. Click the Type column and premium plugins will be moved to the top of the list.
Absolutely. Let’s say you signed up for our PERFORMplus plan and paid for a full year for 1 of your sites. After 3 months, you decide to shut down (or move, or whatever…) that site but want to start a new one. Upon your request, we’ll transfer the unused 9 months you already paid for to the new site. The destination site must already exist before we can transfer any unused payments.
If our rates went up in the time period, we’ll honor the rate you initially paid for during the balance of your original subscription; if our rates went down, we’ll issue a refund adjusted for the months remaining on your original subscription.
Our PHP memory limit is currently set at 256 Mb, but a memory intensive script can raise this to a much higher level to satisfy a specific need. There’s ample memory on our servers to accommodate such scripts.
You can control the amount of memory your site requires by limiting the number of plugins your site loads. In general, as you increase the number of plugins you load, you’ll increase the memory your site requires and the time it takes to load.
We are currently running these PHP and MySQL versions:
- PHP version 5.5.9
- MariaDB version 10.0.11
Both versions have the most recent security patches for the Linux operating system we use. We continually review new releases and will install them on our servers when either they have been established as stable or required to address security issues.
Yes. By swapping out a WordPress installation function for our own proprietary replacement, we modify certain default WordPress settings to make it simpler and faster for you to set up your site on wpPERFORM.com. Our changes are targeted at modifying the default content that WordPress creates when it sets up a new site. Specifically, we:
- Change the default category from Uncategorized to General;
- Change the default link list to add a link to our homepage and to remove links to certain WordPress destinations that would have little relevance to our users, such as the WordPress themes repository;
- Remove all of the 5 default widgets so that a new site has no widgets already installed to save our users from having to delete potentially unwanted widgets;
- Change the “Hello World!” post to one entitled “Welcome to wpPERFORM.com”;
- Remove the initial comment created by “Mr WordPress” to save our users from deleting it.
These changes only apply when you first create your site, and the changes are only made to reduce the amount of generic content our users must delete when creating their sites.
You have complete control over the style sheet for your site, so you can change your site’s style sheet to create a truly personalized look. Every theme we offer comes with one or more default style sheets. Typically, if the theme supports multiple style sheets, there will be a setting located on one of the menus in your dashboard, such as the Genesis->Theme Settings menu. Once you’ve specified the default style sheet for your theme, you can change it in 1 of 2 ways:
- You can make a tweak by changing the style for an ID or a class;
- You can replace the entire style sheet with one that you provide.
The first option is ideal to make small changes, such as modifying colors or fonts. The second approach is better suited if you are a designer (or hired one…) that has made extensive changes to the style sheet. We provide both options through the Jetpack by WordPress.com plugin, which you can run either with or without a connection to WordPress.com. We have a great article on how to create custom CSS for your site, and we’re here to support you to make whatever changes you need.
Yes, we do, and we make it easy for you to choose from any of the available Google Web Fonts for use on your site.
Because typography plays an important part in the look of your site, we have a detailed article on using web fonts that discusses how we support them.
By default, we use the InnoDB database engine, largely for performance reasons but we can enable the InnoDB engine on some tables for sites that require it. Most WordPress users never think about MySQL database engines, and for good reason – WordPress works great with either engine in most cases.
Database engines are a technical detail to which we pay attention to optimize performance. For MySQL versions prior to 5.5, the default database engine was InnoDB. InnoDB was a time-proven way of accessing SQL data. As of MySQL version 5.5, InnoDB became the default engine. While both engines have their strengths and weaknesses, here are what we see as the important differences for WordPress users:
- InnoDB does row-level locking for updates, while InnoDB locks the entire table;
- InnoDB supports transactions, foreign keys, and relationship constraints while InnoDB does not;
- InnoDB has better crash recovery, especially for large databases;
- InnoDB supports tables with full text indexes, whereas full-text indexing is more recent feature of InnoDB and less well-supported.
The row-level locking feature of InnoDB means that a smaller portion of a database (a single row as opposed to an entire table) is locked while an update is performed. That provides better response for more users in a busy network. InnoDB’s crash recovery capabilities are important to us so that we can restore data quickly in the event of a system failure.
Still, InnoDB’s better support for full text searches can be important to some users. For example, the popular related posts plugin Yet Another Related Posts Plugin requires that the WordPress posts table use the InnoDB engine in order to consider post titles and bodies in its “relatedness” calculation.
While by default our database tables use the InnoDB engine, until its full-text indexing is better supported, we can and will change the database engine to InnoDB where it’s required. Doing so requires that we optimize our servers for the mix of engines applied and the amount of data they contain, so if you activate a plugin such as YARPP and need a table switched to InnoDB, you’ll accomplish that by making a support request.
In the bigger picture, changes are coming to WordPress databases in the future, as discussed in trac ticket 21663 and PHP’s discussion of choosing an API to connect with MySQL.
Unfortunately, no. BuddyPress by design is intended to be run on all the sites across a network, which might not be appropriate for all sites across our network. There are approaches that allow creation of networks within networks, but even these approaches share users across the main network, something that all sites on our network may not need or want.
Because we don’t run BuddyPress on our network, we also don’t run BuddyPress related plugins such as GenesisConnect for BuddyPress.
If you have a need for an independent WordPress network or network of networks running BuddyPress, drop us a note on our contact page, and we’ll try to help.
Yes. Introduced in WordPress 2.3.1, WP_DEBUG is a constant that helps developers debug code, which could be a theme or plugin. By default, WP_DEBUG is set to false on our main network, but we also maintain a more developer-friendly network, where WP_DEBUG is set to true. In addition, that network has a number of plugins to assist developers, including:
- Debug Bar
- Debug Bar Slow Actions
- Query Monitor
- Debug Bar Cron
- Debug Bar Extender
- Debug Bar Super Globals
For subscribers currently paying on either PERFORMpro or PERFORMelite, upon your support request we’ll create a new site or a copy of an existing site (your choice) on our developer-friendly network.
No, we don’t allow the use of unfiltered HTML. It’s a potential security vulnerability, and we take security very seriously.
There are several examples of the practical implications of this. First, on a Genesis theme, even as the administrator of your site, you won’t see the Header and Footer Scripts metabox on the Genesis->Theme Settings menu. Second, embedded HTML in post or page content, such as an
< iframe > or
< embed >, will be automatically stripped out. Common uses of these techniques can include adding the Google Analytics tracking code or embedding videos.
We have other, better methods to accomplish these same objectives, so there’s no loss of functionality because we block unfiltered HTML.
We set WP_POST_REVISIONS to 5. That means that up to 5 revisions of a post or other content are stored in our database, which allows you to revert to a previous revision where that functionality is enabled.
To see revisions in action, first make sure the Revisions metabox is displayed on your add/edit post/page screen by visiting the Screen Options in the upper right of that screen and confirming that the Revisions setting is checked. With the Revisions metabox displayed, you can select one of up to 5 prior revisions, compare it to the current content, and revert to that revision if you determine that’s a good choice.
Post revisions were introduced in WordPress in version 2.6. While they can be a useful tool, they come at a small performance penalty. Each saved revision adds a new database record for the revision. If your site has 1000 posts and 5 revisions each, the number of records required to store those records is 6 times greater than simply storing the posts themselves. Databases with more records are slower than those with fewer records. Our fast database system compensates for this performance penalty, so the net performance impact of storing a small number of revisions isn’t material.
At the same time, revisions offer some big potential benefits. For example, custom CSS is stored so that it includes revisions, and that makes it easy to change the styling of your site and revert back to a previous version if the change proves undesirable.
We think keeping a small but manageable number of revisions minimizes the performance penalty while preserving almost all of the meaningful benefits.
Autosave was first introduced in WordPress 2.1 in January of 2007. The default
AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL in WordPress is 60 seconds, but we bump that up to 120 seconds, or 2 minutes.
In other words, if you have an unsaved post or page in the WordPress administration area, the autosave interval will kick in after 2 minutes to save it automatically for you. There’s 1 autosave version of a post or page, and it’s separate from other post revisions.
In our experience, automatic saving that’s too frequent can disrupt workflow by unexpectedly taking control of a user’s system while the automatic save is performed; a very long
AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL completely removes an important safety net that can allow you to recover important work.
We previously had the
AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL set much higher, but our testing showed there wasn’t a noticeable performance hit to using a lower value. Therefore, we lowered it to take advantage of the content protection that autosave provides.
We always recommend that you save your work when you think it’s the right time to do so, but if that doesn’t happen, the
AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL might provide some protection.