Previously this site had been hosted on a VPS.net Cloud Server, which was rock solid as this site grew to almost a million pageviews per month. VPS.net is fast, affordable, provides good support, and I continue to recommend them.
But there are features of Synthesis that I realized I could no longer live without.
Optimized WordPress Performance
First, I don’t want to do my own Linux optimization anymore. Now I won’t have to.
The Synthesis team developed its Linux server stack specifically to handle high traffic loads on WordPress websites. They have spent the last several years tweaking and perfecting this setup to provide the outstanding performance, reliability, and security that Synthesis does today.
Simply put, the Synthesis team knows WordPress and they know server performance. I wanted to align with a team that understands WordPress performance better than I do. Now I have.
The second reason for the switch is that Synthesis, as part of Copyblogger, can simultaneously support my hosting and my theme.
Yoast.com runs on the Genesis Framework, developed by Copyblogger’s StudioPress design team. Yes, I could host Yoast.com anywhere and still have access to StudioPress support, but no other hosting platform is specifically tuned for Genesis. This further optimizes performance and security, and it makes updates a breeze.
Plus, the Synthesis support staff is proactive about troubleshooting and quickly fixing issues specific to Genesis. A support question that might have taken two or three tickets to answer previously now will take just one because of the Synthesis/Genesis integration.
Cutting Edge Value
Copyblogger Media hosts its own business websites on regular plans from Synthesis. Beyond performance, Synthesis was designed to support the operational needs of the site owner versus that of the hosting company, and thus provides a few features that are unique among hosting providers.
First, Synthesis provides their customers with an uptime checker called Site Sensor.
Beyond normal uptime checks, it can actually perform WordPress-specific checks which ensure RSS feeds and sitemaps are current. A website with broken SEO and content distribution mechanics might as well be down. The sitemap checker even supports the indexed sitemaps produced by our own WordPress SEO plugin, I worked with the Synthesis team to add that functionality.
Second, Synthesis has backups down to a science.
Synthesis already backs up my server on a nightly basis and ships it across the U.S. to a second data center. They also make local WordPress-specific backups that make it easy for their support staff to replace plugins, WP options settings, and more at a moment’s notice. Beyond this, they provide a database snapshot tool that I can use to back up my database before plugin and WP upgrades.
Additionally, they are soon releasing a feature called Personal Backups for S3 that will allow me to send a backup to my own S3 bucket at Amazon. Unlike normal backup plugins, this service is actually driven by robust server-side processes and is not dependent on PHP.
Finally, I switched to Synthesis because I trust their technical aptitude and respect their forward-thinking mindset.
For example, some of you may have heard about SPDY, Google’s initiative to speed up the web by improving HTTP and TCP. I certainly have, and it is a feature I wanted implemented on our HTTPS forums and checkout pages.
With this move to Synthesis, I’ll have it.
SPDY requires server-side and browser support. (For a list of compatible web browsers, click here.) Synthesis is one of the first WordPress-only hosts to offer SPDY compatibility for qualified sites, having already tested it on a few of their own most valuable properties.
This is just the latest example of Synthesis consistently evolving to provide more value for its customers’ hosting dollar.
A True Partner
In Synthesis, I don’t see a hosting provider. I see a hosting partner. This is what I needed as Yoast.com continues to grow and evolve.
I’ll now have more time to spend doing what I love — writing plugins, reviewing websites, even writing Genesis child themes — while the Synthesis team will make sure that the site is up and ready to take advantage of the next development in WordPress hosting.