My name is Wolf Bishop. I am the CEO and founder of WP Top Hat, and I would like to share our story with you. It is filled with adventure and danger, romance and….ok, maybe not, but it is still a good story! But to really get to the meat of this story, I need to start with a little of my story, and the journey to where WP Top Hat is today.
I first discovered WordPress in 2005. At first, I was not super impressed. I saw it as just one more in a string of blogging platforms that were popping up all over the web. Nothing special. Well, I have also always been an open source enthusiast, and for that reason alone I followed the project for the next several months. By mid-2006, I was hooked.
By 2008 I knew that WordPress was the future, at least for me. I began freelancing as a WordPress designer and soon after, took to teaching about WordPress. Of course, a wild curveball threw off my plans and caused a bit of a delay in my dreams. But I never gave it up and when the time was right, I launched my first WordPress business WP Master Design in 2012. This was a small WordPress design agency and it gave me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the best experts in the WordPress community. It also lead me to the path of becoming a WordCamp presenter and educator.
In addition to my design agency, I spent the next few years working in the Web Hosting industry, another crucial step in achieving my ultimate goal.
My first WordCamp was Omaha 2014 where I had the privilege of meeting the founders of Flywheel, one of a new breed of hosts known as Managed WordPress hosting. My first presentation was a complete flop, but I gained a ton of valuable knowledge and insights into this community. I also got to meet one of my WordPress heroes, Pippin Williamson, creator of Easy Digital Downloads, so the trip was certainly not a failure!
It was also when the idea that would become WP Top Hat, and the goal I hinted at above, was first born. I watched as so-called “Managed WordPress Hosts” continued to pop up here and there. Companies like Pressable (formerly ZippyKid), WP Engine, and Pagely were creating an all-new sub-industry of the hosting industry. They were creating hosting plans that included various WordPress optimizations and automation features. Around the same time, another sub-industry began to appear called WordPress Maintenance. These companies provide advanced WordPress maintenance services like troubleshooting, automation, and enhanced security.
So how did this lead to the birth of WP Top Hat? Well, ya know that little idea I mentioned being born at WordCamp Omaha 2014? It was more of a belief that managed WordPress hosting should mean more than just optimizing your servers for WordPress or providing enhanced security and support for WordPress. Managed WordPress Hosts began marketing “Fully managed WordPress”, but they would not perform minor edits, plugin or theme troubleshooting, or optimization of the WordPress site itself. You know, all those things that WordPress maintenance companies do. In fact, I believe it is the lack of these features that created the perfect environment for WordPress Maintenance companies.
Of course, none of this is a bad thing, nor a knock on traditional managed hosts or maintenance companies. Both have continued to provide valuable services to their customers and to the WordPress community itself. And I do not believe this is likely to change. However, I do believe that as the Managed WordPress Hosting industry becomes more and more populated, these companies will need to seriously up their game.
Anyway, I digress slightly. My point is that I believe that Managed WordPress hosting should include WordPress Maintenance services. Business owners should not need to pay 2 separate companies for these services. There are many advantages to combining hosting and maintenance into a single service. One such benefit is that when something goes wrong on your site, you do not need to first discover whether you should be contacting your host or your maintenance provider. They are one and the same and so they can look at both the server and the site as possible causes of trouble. This often means faster, more effective support.
Combined maintenance and hosting makes life a thousand times easier and more convenient for a business owner. It can save them both time and money in a multitude of ways. So it seems to be a no-brainer for more companies to provide such levels of service. That belief is the very foundation of WP Top Hat.
In late 2016, we renamed WP Master Design to WP Top Hat and began selling our WordPress maintenance services. At that same time, we began the journey towards becoming a managed WordPress host. Work started on our custom hosting control panel, we began creating innovative monitoring and automation tools and made plans to fully integrate our maintenance plans into the new hosting plans.
Finally in 2018 my, nay our dream became reality when we launched the first Managed WordPress Hosting plans that included WordPress maintenance in the same package. All at an incredibly affordable rate.
See, i told you it was a good story!