- What do you offer that is not available through generic hosting offerings?
- Do you have a specific offering for test or development sites?
- Do you support WordPress Multisite?
- Do you keep backups? If so, how often do you backup?
- Are there bandwidth limits with Synthesis?
- My non-Synthesis site keeps crashing. Can you fix it?
- Why don’t you offer email services?
- What email and services do you recommend?
- Can I use BuddyPress without GenesisConnect?
- What is an HTACCESS file?
- Can I edit my HTACCESS with Synthesis?
- Will I have a dedicated IP address?
- Do you use Media Temple infrastructure?
- Do you help with migrations? How much does it cost?
- What does a Synthesis plan include?
- Can I upgrade my plan later? Will anything change if I do?
- Do you have any limits or restrictions on plugins?
- Does Synthesis support SFTP?
- What level and availability of support do you offer?
- Where should my DNS A record point to?
- How do I preview my website before it goes live?
- Do you recommend a specific caching plugin?
- How do I add new domains to my account?
- Can I run Backup Buddy on Synthesis?
- What backup plugins do you recommend?
- Do I need to backup my files on my own?
- How do I get an SSL certificate?
- Do you have special offerings or plans for NonProfits?
- Can you provide an example of website performance on Synthesis?
- Why can’t I update WordPress or a post/plugin on my site?
- What do I do with the W3 Total Cache configuration you sent over?
- Do you recommend Minification of CSS & JS?
What do you offer that is not available through generic hosting offerings?
The technology behind Synthesis is designed for WordPress from the ground up. Still, being faster and more secure than generic providers isn’t good enough.
Where we really poured energy into our R&D was building systems and tools that help us deliver superb customer service. Whether it be a minor problem in your theme or something you’re designer has done that has put your site in disarray, we have focused on building systems that gather thousands of data points every second so that we can help you and help you quickly. Our value-add systems include monitoring of basic server services, PHP warnings and errors, WordPress configuration errors, security injection attempts, and more.
We won’t waste your time asking you questions like “What Plugins do you have active?” We will know this sort of information and so much more before we even start a dialogue with you. Your time is important and so is the health and uptime of your site.
Do you have a specific offering for test or development sites?
Synthesis is designed for production sites. At this time we do not have a test or development offering, but we have plans to include this in the near future.
Do you keep backups? If so, how often do you backup?
We backup all servers on a nightly basis and retain backup data for up to seven days. In addition to nightly backups, we make copies of all plugins and theme files on your local server so we can easily restore them for you. We retain all local files for 7 days.
All server backups are stored offsite in a secure co-location facility on dual redundancy RAID arrays for optimum reliability.
Are there bandwidth limits with Synthesis?
Synthesis does have bandwidth limits and we require the Professional plan or higher for bandwidth intensive applications. These range from 650GB of transfer to 3TB of transfer.
If you are concerned about bandwidth limits, we can configure W3 Total Cache for your site to use Amazon S3 as the download point. It is very inexpensive, fast, and reliable. Synthesis support can also help set your site up on a full-fledged CDN if necessary.
My non-Synthesis site keeps crashing. Can you fix it?
If your site is experiencing crashes, we can evaluate it from the outside and try to rule out theme, plugin, or script issues that could be the cause of the problem. If your crashes are coming directly from your web hosting, then switching to Synthesis should remedy the issue.
Why don’t you offer email services?
We thoroughly believe in separating email from hosting, as they are two separate entities; and we highly recommend a best-in-breed provider that can focus on the spam reality that is today’s email world. Our support team can provide guidance for configuring your site to use our hosting and a separate email provider.
We also highly recommend a DNS provider that has a scalable infrastructure. Placing your DNS and email on a local VPS is not recommended for performance in our opinion.
What email and services do you recommend?
If your domain is purchased from GoDaddy:
- Use GoDaddy’s free DNS, which is very good.
- Use 1 free email from GoDaddy and up to 100 forwarding accounts.
If your domain is not purchased from GoDaddy:
- Amazon Route 53 DNS or GoDaddy Premium DNS both cost around $25 a year and offer reliable, distributed DNS.
- Use Google Apps or GoDaddy Paid IMAP or POP email services ($5 a month roughly)
Can I use BuddyPress without GenesisConnect?
You can install BuddyPress without GenesisConnect, but you will need to correct all of the styling and adjust the theme to work with it. If you purchase GenesisConnect, all styling is done for you, and updates are included free of charge.
CopyBlogger is unable to assist with BuddyPress issues on the support forum unless GenesisConnect is installed, as GenesisConnect eliminates many common user issues.
What is an HTACCESS file?
Many WordPress users have heard of the HTACCESS file but are not sure what it does or why it can be important.
HTACCESS is nothing more than a configuration file specific to a web server called Apache. Since the majority of our configurations don’t use Apache, you won’t see these in your hosting installation. Our shared plans do use Apache for some services; yet, we have Apache configured as a “static” configuration so you won’t see .htaccess files there either.
If your site requires a certain rewrite or block that you would normally do yourself in .htaccess, open a help desk ticket and we can put this in place for you in a very timely manner.
Can I edit my HTACCESS with Synthesis?
On Synthesis, we take your configurations and statically configure them in the most efficient manner possible on our server. This is part of what “Managed Hosting” means.
We will optimize your configuration for performance and security, including your HTACCESS file, and we will test for SEO compatibility and broken links to ensure your transition to Synthesis is smooth.
If you need additional changes, just open a support ticket and describe what you want in plain English and we’ll make it happen. This is part of what sets Synthesis apart and something that we take pride in.
Will I have a dedicated IP address?
For Starter plans, the site has a shared IP address. For Professional, Advanced, and Enterprise plans, sites have a dedicated IP address.
All plans include the option to add an IP address for SSL Certificates and other technical requirements.
Do you use Media Temple infrastructure?
We have a commercial contract with MediaTemple to provide us with hardware and network connectivity out of their East coast data center.
We have worked very closely with MediaTemple over the past year to design and optimize this offering specifically for the Genesis community. We had the choice of working with anyone we wanted to, and we ended up choosing MediaTemple because they fully understood what our solution was about and we shared the same philosophies when it came to customer service.
Do you help with migrations? How much does it cost?
The cost of migrating a site starts at $95, which covers most scenarios. We will evaluate your site on an individual basis and provide a fixed bid before proceeding.
We can have your server set up shortly and can usually begin your migration the next day. After your migration completes, we can set up a preview of the site for you to make sure everything looks good from your end. Then we’ll pick a low traffic time to switch your DNS over and point your traffic to your new site. By switching the site in this manner, your live website should have virtually no downtime.
To initiate the switch to Synthesis you will need to place the order via https://purchase.websynthesis.com/
Once your account is active you can submit a migration request quote via the customer portal that you can locate here: https://accounts.websynthesis.com/
What does a Synthesis plan include?
The plan includes full support for SFTP, SSH, and PHPMyAdmin.
Synthesis hosting also includes:
- Nightly database backups;
- Plugin and theme backups that go back seven days;
- Synthesis proprietary security;
- All plans utilize the highly scalable NGINX webserver on each VPS, which we manage and tune the configuration to optimize speed and security.
Synthesis hosting will manage the Linux stack and security. You have the option of updating WordPress, plugins, and Genesis as needed. If there is a blatant security risk (e.g. TimThumb.php) then Synthesis will push updates to remedy the security vulnerability.
Can I upgrade my plan later? Will anything change if I do?
If you go with the Starter package now and you upgrade later, your site will have to be internally migrated. We can do this for you at no charge. It will, however, require a change in the site’s IP address plus other internal changes, and any promotion discounts would be lost unless they were still available at the time of your account change.
If you start your Synthesis service with the Professional plan or higher, any upgrades after that will not require an IP address change.
Do you have any limits or restrictions on plugins?
We do not limit the number of plugins you install, but we do recommend a) that you only use plugins that have been updated within a reasonable amount of time, and b) that you only use plugins that are performing an active function on your website. (Read our blog post for best practices on using and choosing plugins.)
We DO collect an unbelievable amount of real time data and if we feel a plugin is an issue, we will initiate a conversation with you about configuration options and alternatives.
We do run a plugin monitor that detects inactive plugins and theme files. If your site is storing these files we will make you aware of it in your WordPress admin console.
Does Synthesis support SFTP?
All Synthesis sites support Secure FTP via the SSH File Transfer Protocol. Our SFTP is configured on non-standard port. Once you have selected an FTP client that supports SFTP, login to your Customer Portal to retrieve your SFTP login and password.
What level and availability of support do you offer?
We have 24-hour monitoring of our servers and our support desk. While the majority of our support is done through our Support Desk, if the situation requires chat support, screen sharing, or getting on the phone/Skype, we will not hesitate to do so.
We are also very proactive in our service and security monitoring. We monitor sites for uptime around the clock and take action to restore service as soon as possible in the case of an outage.
If you have an emergency issue, such as your site being down, our support response time is 30 minutes maximum. In most cases we will already be working on the issue and often have it resolved well before then.
Where should my DNS A record point to?
Your DNS “A” record or “@” record should be pointed to the IP address that’s listed in your account center.
How do I preview my website before it goes live?
If you want to preview your site on your new Synthesis hosting account prior to changing your DNS, please open a support ticket and we’ll setup proxy access to your new account.
Do you recommend a specific caching plugin?
Synthesis is tuned to use W3 Total Cache. Our recommended settings can be imported into your W3TC plugin with the W3TC configuration file that is attached to the welcome email once you sign up. If you need this file, open up a support ticket and let us know.
How do I add new domains to my account?
If you purchased a VPS plan and would like to add additional domains to your account, please open a support ticket providing the domain and we’ll take care of it for you.
Can I run Backup Buddy on Synthesis?
We do support Backup Buddy and appreciate this premium plugin. However, Backup Buddy’s full functionality relies on PHPExec to be enabled on a server. We have disabled PHPExec on all of our server configurations for security purposes and DO NOT have any future plans for enabling it. For this reason, Backup Buddy can have some issues on our servers, and may not always run reliably. You can try enabling Alternative Zip method under the Backup Buddy settings, or disabling zip altogether.
Alternatively, you could try a backup plugin called BackWPUp that we have had good success with so far. It is a free plugin and it can be configured to push your backups to Amazon S3 or several other offsite locations.
What backup plugins do you recommend?
BackWPUp is a plugin that we have had good success with so far. It is a free plugin and it can be configured to push your backups to Amazon S3 or several other off-site locations.
Do I need to backup my files on my own?
We would ask that you only keep a very small number of backup files on your server. We perform a full database backup every night, and we also take a copy your theme and plugins folders, all of which we store for up to seven days. This means that each backup you save could be saved on our side up to seven times.
If the standard backups that we run on the site meet your needs then you don’t have to take any additional action for your site to be backed up daily.
We are working on the ability to create server side backups that are placed in your S3 account. We will update our community as this becomes available.
How do I get an SSL certificate?
In order to get an SSL certificate on your site, we must first generate a CSR for your site. This will be submitted to your certificate issuer, and is used to create your SSL certificate.
Please submit a help desk request and we will let you know what information we need to get the ball rolling.
Do you have special offerings or plans for Non-Profits?
We appreciate that a non-profit organization has special requirements. However, at this time we do not have a special offering for non-profit organizations, though this may be something we add in the future.
Can you provide an example of website performance on Synthesis?
Synthesis is designed for performance and scalability. If you have a specific site that sees the bulk of your traffic or has large traffic spikes then Synthesis has a definitive advantage over more generic hosting. For an example of our performance feel free to evaluate www.Briangardner.com with Pingdom or Google’s Page Speed Tool.
Why can’t I update WordPress or a post/plugin on my site?
An admin setting change not saving is most likely being caused my W3 Total Cache. Try clearing your page cache under the performance tab, then see if your changes take effect. If that does not fix it, try the following steps:
- “Empty all Caches” in your W3 Total Cache under the performance tab
- Disable W3 Total Cache under the plugins tab
- Update to WordPress 3.3 using the Updates tab
- Enable W3 Total Cache under the Plugins Tab
- “Empty all Caches” in your W3 Total Cache under the performance tab
What do I do with the W3 Total Cache configuration you sent over?
You can import the W3TC settings using your WordPress dashboard. To do so, go to the Performance dropdown and select “General Settings.” On that page scroll down to the very bottom to the “Import/Export Settings” section, and in the Import settings field you can browse to the location you saved the W3TC configuration file and upload it.
Once you have uploaded the file, you will want to “Disable” preview mode and “Clear all cache” in W3 Total Cache for your new settings to take effect. Please give the plugin 24-48 hours to rebuild your cache and it should clear any warnings you see.
Do you recommend Minification of CSS & JS?
We recommend not using Minify CSS & JS. From our experience, the performance gains on a Genesis site are very minor. The risk of Minify CSS & JS is that they take many lines of code and compact it into one, and sometimes errors are made. When this happens, your entire site can load without CSS or be down entirely until the cache is cleared. We have not deemed the slight performance gain to be worth the risk.