Test Driving Pantheon

Up until this point, my personal website has been hosted on shared hosting. It has always served well for the purpose, but I just knew that I wanted a boost.

I am pretty familiar with WP Engine managed WordPress hosting, and it is a joy to use, so I knew that Managed WordPress was the way I wanted to go. However, for the lower tier plan, Pantheon had a sweeter deal for me. For $25/month I get everything I need for this site and then some. I get free SSL certificates, free global CDN, free New Relic, and so much more. Something that I noticed in the pricing between WP Engine and Pantheon is that when you get up to the $100/mo plans, Pantheon is $100 for one site and WP Engine is $100 for up to ten installs. Something to note when comparing. I enjoy using both platforms, but Pantheon just made more sense for this particular website.

Getting set up took me a while, since I was new to the workflow. I had already set up Git for a local site, but I found that it would have been much easier to set up a development site on Pantheon and then clone that repo locally before beginning work on it.

Pantheon has a very unique wp-config setup that I actually really appreciated. Unlike other managed WordPress hosting companies, you have access to change this file, but all of the sensitive credentials are set as environment variables. Your local site will then use a file called wp-config-local.php. It let me force https via wp-config very easily, and should I ever need to change something else in wp-config, I have full control.

The Pantheon workflow consists of three environments, Dev, Test, and Live. This could come in handy for sites with a ton of content or e-commerce sites. Dev is your standard staging server, but Test is unique. It combines new code (from Dev) with existing content (database) from Live. This should make sure less mistakes are pushed to the live site (fingers crossed).

Another great feature of Pantheon is their software called Terminus. It allows you to access your server via your own command line (no ssh) and run commands. This made using wp-cli a breeze.

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2 thoughts on “Test Driving Pantheon”

  1. I have been thinking of possibly moving to managed WordPress hosting. I currently run a manged SSD VPS on KnownHost.com and they have really been great since 2012. But I really want to scale up and possibly do a whole lot more. I have been looking in to possible cloud environments (Google / Amazon) or droplets (Digital Ocean). The one thing that keeps me on the SSD is the cPanel interface for my clients.

    We should chat more about Pantheon this weekend in Sacramento at WordCamp.

    1. There are definitely merits to whatever you choose to do. For me, I am not incredibly familiar with running servers. I can get something up and running and probably get WordPress installed (I have done this for fun on Digital Ocean). I just know that managing servers is not where I want to spend a lot of time. I would rather be writing code. Looking forward to seeing you in Sacramento and we can definitely chat about Pantheon.

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