SkyrocketWP is an all-in-one WordPress hosting, maintenance, and support solution for individual businesses and digital marketing agencies. They came to Kinsta searching for speed for their clients, and they found that and more. Check out our interview below with Chad Barnes, the head honcho of SkyrocketWP.

About SkyrocketWP

“Behind the scenes, we’re a group of guys who have been friends and WordPress nerds for years. We started as a small digital marketing agency, but as the agency grew, the hosting, maintenance, and support side took on a life of it’s own. And, as of early 2017, that life has a name: SkyrocketWP.

Today, we host, maintain, and support over 100 websites that range from mom-and-pop local businesses to multi-thousand product e-commerce stores to 500,000 visitor/mo super-blogs. Only receiving a handful of support requests per month, the testimony of our clients is that their websites just work. And that’s the way we like it.”

Finding a New Hosting Provider

“Slow websites drive me nuts. And my impatience with slow load times has infected the rest of our team. So, we compress images, pinpoint and troubleshoot slow plugins, identify and kill unnecessary scripts, etc.

But even our best efforts can’t overcome bad hosting. So, after reading reviews and testing personally, we opted years ago for one of WP Engine’s Premium plans, which provided stellar page load speeds… for a while.

As the number of sites on our dedicated server increased, every site on our server began to slow down. Over time, our blisteringly fast page load speeds became nothing of the sort. As we talked about the issue with WP Engine, we learned that even doubling our plan likely wouldn’t solve our problems for long. Tripling would soon be required.

That was beyond our budget and virtually guaranteed that we’d eventually see our sites slow down again.

As we went back to the drawing board researching web hosts, we stumbled across a name we had never heard: Kinsta. And everywhere we found that name, we found people raving about page load speed. That’s what we wanted, but there were many benefits of WP Engine that we knew we couldn’t lose. In particular, we loved the ease of their dashboard and the expertise of their support team.

So, we made a list of every feature in the WP Engine dashboard (yes, we’re those people—we noted every single one) and we dug up some of our most involved support conversations with WP Engine. Jon (patiently) talked with me through each point and case and, though still reluctant, we decided to give it a try.”

Migrating to Kinsta

“We hired Kinsta’s team to migrate all 100+ websites. In an effort to quickly lighten the load on our WP Engine server through the migration process, we had Kinsta migrate our largest sites first. The first was a 500,000+ visitor/mo blog, the second was a several thousand product e-commerce site, and the third was a resource hog that ran more than 50 plugins (whoa!). Here’s what we found:

  • Site #1: 15% page load speed improvement — down from 1.38s to 1.17s
  • Site #2: 81% page load speed improvement — down from 8.91s (yes, it had gotten that bad) to 1.71s
  • Site #3: 52% page load speed improvement — down from 3.48s to 1.69s

Still skeptical, I assumed, as WP Engine told us, that the improvement was likely owing to the fact that our WP Engine still had a massive number of websites versus only 3 on our new Kinsta server.

But that wasn’t the case. The shocker (to me, anyway) was that those same sites performed at that level after all 100+ sites had been migrated.

And that’s why we offer a page load speed guarantee even on our plan that includes no hands-on page load speed optimization on our end. Knowing that the simple migration to a Kinsta server will produce page load speeds that exceed those of WP Engine, a company known for speed, we feel great guaranteeing page load speed improvement for every client—no matter where they’ve been hosting. And more than 100 sites into that guarantee, we’ve never lost.

As thankful as we are for the performance, we’re no less thankful for Kinsta support. I had serious reservations about losing WP Engine support. After all, they’re internationally recognized for their tech support! And we saw why. Their support techs were generally helpful, efficient, and available by phone, email, or chat. So, the prospect of moving away from award-winning support that’s available any time in any way to a chat-only support company with no international support awards? Less than invigorating, to say the least.”

Support Surpasses the Competition

“Almost a year into our relationship with Kinsta, the support we get doesn’t just meet, but legitimately surpasses what we got (and at the time really enjoyed!) from WP Engine. With super-low problem-to-solution times and competence for days, we haven’t experienced support at this level from any company of any kind—including award winners like WP Engine and Apple. No kidding.”

Managing more than 100 websites carries the potential for overwhelming tech support issues. But the switch to Kinsta has decreased our support tickets by roughly 50%. Our sites just work–they’re live, they’re fast, they’re protected, and they’re (expertly) supported. And that frees us to take care of our clients, which keeps (1) them happy (98+% retention rate) and (2) our families fed! Kinsta frees me from spending time on things that are outside our wheelhouse. Kinsta’s ability to do what they do frees us to what we do in a way that far exceeds what we’ve experienced from other managed hosting companies.

Chad Barnes
Chad Barnes, Head Honcho