The Phone Call
“Should we keep WooCommerce?”
“Should we stick with WP Engine?”
These were the questions I heard on the phone call I was on. If you don't know – I work for Crowd Favorite, an agency that delivers open source solutions to enterprises. So this call was coming from a serious client who had some serious questions.
But normally the calls are about our own capabilities, not the capabilities of software or other companies.
My answer was that it would take us a week or two to figure out the answers because I needed to see what was going on.
After two weeks, I'd written out my findings. The short version?
On our next call, we talked about what it would take to handle the traffic that their site was experiencing. Normally that's not a really hard issue with websites because you have tons of cache solutions available to you. But eCommerce is a bit different. You can't go caching everything.
Additionally, this was an incredible amount of traffic. We're not talking about a couple thousand folks an hour making transactions. We're talking about that per minute!
Over the last year or two we've seen WP Engine create offerings that scale as customer demands scale. They've gone upmarket like many others. And they've created offerings that make sense.
But what do you do when you need more?
Now, I'll be honest. This isn't a trick for everyone. This is not something that you should try at home unless you're a paid professional.
See, before I tell you the secret, I'm going to tell you how WP Engine works. Because they work like everyone else works.
Let me explain it by telling you a quick story.
I once bought a house. A new house. It was the kind that people had camped out on the streets to be in line to buy. Fortunately, the guy who had camped out for my house had had a change in plans and falled out of the deal minutes before I walked into the office to buy the house.
This house was awesome.
And across the street lived a guy who worked for a custom home builder. He was the construction foreman for his dad's custom home building company. And for some reason I'll never know, he bought the non-custom house across the street.
On the day I did the framing walk-thru, I walked thru the house (just wooden frames) and checked to see if all the extra outlets were in place. That was pretty much all that I could evaluate because I'm not in construction.
Our across-the-street neighbor? He had a 32 page dissertation on all that was wrong.
I think he had missed the point of buying a non-custom home.
Sometimes I think we purchase hosting that way. We come in thinking that the host will do anything we want. Simply because we want it. So we ask for all sorts of off-the-wall stuff.
When I buy a hosting account with anyone, I assume I'm going to be treated like every other customer, and that their platform will come before my specific and nuanced needs.
Does that make sense?
But here's the secret.
If you're bringing the right kind of problem, an interesting problem, that is worth solving, to WP Engine, and you explain that you're willing to discuss additional charges, you can at least have a phone call where you get to talk about the nuances of your problem.
In our case, a highly scalable eCommerce site was interesting to WP Engine. And our client had the budget to support a custom installation.
So everyone won!
We're not completely done with the story, because we've not seen Black Friday traffic yet.
But the custom infrastructure we've created is incredible and will scale beyond anything we've seen or needed.
And that means the secret is worth knowing!