A Tale of Knights, Castles, Customer Service, & Hacked WordPress Websites

Jacob Stimpson

Formerly titled:

Why wpXPRESS Charges $149 for A Whole Lot More Than Just “Hosting” or “Maintenance”

Recently, we had two different instances where security was an issue for sites that were not hosted by us. In one instance some WordPress themes contained a known security flaw, but hadn’t been updated, and therefore allowed malware to get in and infect many sites. This meant that when you visited the site, your browser or anti-virus software would issue you a warning and ask if you were sure you wanted to visit the unsafe site. The second instance was similar, but the sites weren’t built on WordPress, and they eventually got taken completely offline. So when people tried to visit them, they just got a blank white page or an error. We’ve taken care of both these problems (and gained some awesome new clients from it). But it’s not a pleasant experience for the website owner or us. Things like this are really bad for your business or blog. If somebody visits your website, you want them to have a great experience. Getting big red warnings about how your site is dangerous, and might have a virus or or other malware; or not loading the site at all, is a horrible experience that will drive people away from your website and business.

Why Software Updates Are Important

So how does this happen? As time goes by, people find security holes in almost all software, from the apps on your phone, to Microsoft Office, to the software that runs the hosting server for websites, and yes even website platforms like WordPress, and the plugins and themes created for WordPress. For websites, if a virus or hacker finds one of these chinks in the website’s armor, they can get in and change the content on your website, load viruses that mess up the site or infect visitor’s computers, and even completely take the site down. Fortunately, as soon as the good guys know about a security hole (they often discover them first), they create updates for the software. Just install the software update, and your site (or computer, phone, or iPad) is now impervious to attempts to get in via that security hole. It’s just like knights defending a castle: if you know the bridge across the moat offers the enemy their easiest way in, blow the dang thing up after you cross it, so you’re completely surrounded by the moat. Unlike desktop software and apps on your phone, an update can sometimes goof up your site. It’s like altering a knight’s armor to make it protect against a new kind of attack, but the modification makes it no longer fit the knight’s body. So at Fiddler Online we also include testing to make sure it’s running fine after the update(s). If we find anything, we fix any issues to make it all work properly with the updated software. Imagine altering the armor further so it will both fit the knight, and protect him against the new kind of attack.

The Value of Great Service & Support

In the early days of Fiddler Online we were trying to save money everywhere we could. So for hosting, instead of paying for a server with a company like Hostgator, we went with this other company that was really cheap. For a lot less, we got a way more powerful server. Great, right? Unfortunately, it was one of the worst experiences of my life! For several weeks I spent most of my time troubleshooting issues, problems, and downed websites. It was horrible. And this company’s support rarely helped in spite of all our petitions. I followed excellent advice from Jeff VanDrimmelen (who recently sold us Van’s Websites), and got a new server from Hostgator. Within 24hrs, they had all my sites and data moved to their server, and everything worked perfectly. Since then, anytime I have a problem, they usually respond within half an hour, and often it’s simply to say “your problem is fixed, we took care of it.” (UPDATE: since then we’ve tried a few other options, including CloudWays; eventually settling on Flywheel) In fact, in one of the instances I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the websites were hosted with Hostgator and their awesome security team saved me hours (possibly days) of searching through files and code by using powerful tools I don’t have access to, to find and eliminate the malicious files. They also identified the holes in security and gave me a list of them so I could go through and plug them. Needless to say, we now happily pay about 4-times as much to Hostgator (UPDATE: and now 4-times that to Flywheel) for our server, as we did to that other company. But they save us tons of time, hassle, worry, and ultimately money, since our time and a not having to worry about our server are extremely valuable assets.

We Want to Serve You, Our Clients

The same is true with us. At anywhere from $15-$50/month, companies like Hostgator don’t provide any WordPress updates or support. They may point you in the right direction, but they don’t touch WordPress or other software that runs on top of their server’s software. They also don’t provide custom solutions to meet your business’ needs, or any kind of business or online marketing consultations. If we were to try and compete and provide you with WordPress hosting and support for less than $200/month, we’d have to go in and batch-update all the sites at once, and could only afford to do it about every 6 months. That means there’s no testing to make sure one of the updates didn’t totally goof your site up, ie. your new armor doesn’t fit after the modifications. If your site now looks funny, you’d have to notice it, tell us about it, and pay for the support hours to get it fixed. And something could happen in the meantime where an attacker gets in and takes your site down, or worse (trust me, they can do worse things, but lets not dwell on that).

Kurt and I really don’t want you to have that experience. We want your website to be an awesome, worry-free asset to your company. We want it to drive more business to your doors day in and day out without a hitch or hiccup. And that’s what we work our hardest to provide! So at wpXPRESS we charge $149/month, so we can make sure you don’t have those kinds of experiences. And our $200 includes a whole lot more than anything else you’re going to find out there. Check it out in our pricing section. Or if you like your hosting, but just want WP maintenance and support, we have less-expensive plans to layer on-top of your hosting.

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