The Onyx Platform

A look at some Onyx hosting and service specs. Some comparisons to WordPress Engine are noted.

For more information about Onyx hosting features, visit their site.

* We aren’t sales people, just tech nerds 🤓 so information and explanation of value is all you’ll see on our website, no marketing speak. Our information is meant to be easily understood so let us know if you’d like expanded technical information on anything mentioned.

Free zero-downtime migration:
We’ll migrate your site onto our platform with no downtime or additional cost, just like we’ve done with every site running on our platform.

Free test runs with no obligation:
We’ll get a demonstration copy of your site up and running on our platform for you to experience the improved performance and other benefits of our platform firsthand at no cost or obligation to switch. Your current live, production service will of course remain running as normal, untouched.

For high value sites, higher frequency backups would be recommended. According to WPE’s site, “every plan includes automatic daily backups as well.” Beyond that you can use paid plugins. We can do hourly or even more frequently. WPE seems to take a while to create backups, ours is fast so you can easily create backup points before doing bigger tasks/updates/maintenance so they won’t potentially lose signed up customers. Our backup/restore system is more flexible since it’s part of the managed platform. We can recover faster from more complex issues, easily create local instances using the same exact environment to debug complex issues that can happen with plugins and WordPress itself.

We have advanced monitoring options so we know about issues before the users do. This is another service outside the scope of WPE. In addition to performance and uptime monitoring that trigger immediate alerts if an issue arises or performance dips, we provide automated visual monitoring to ensure no frontend or display issues are happening.

Improved caching:
Caching on WPE only improves performance once warmed and this does not happen automatically on their platform. Items are only cached once loaded (slowly) by a visitor. Our platform automatically warms the cache ensuring that the most content possible is served as quickly as possible from cache. This same service in our platform also allows us to identify and fix any erroneous links that would result in their users hitting 404s.

Improved cron:
Wordpress by default triggers cron jobs via page load. From WPE’s site: “The default WordPress cron functionality, called wp-cron, checks on each page load for scheduled tasks that are due to run. This means wp-cron is not a true UNIX cron and actually runs more or less often based solely on traffic.” Basically, cron jobs won’t run until someone loads the site. It doesn’t run on an actual schedule. WPE offers “Alternate Cron” which can be enabled by a support agent on request and only enables running the standard wp-cron process at a fixed interval. Our platform supports improved cron processes and allows us to run wp-cron in a more managed way in addition to running various other processes, which WPE doesn’t offer. Our platform removes that error-prone complexity and removes that potentially exploitable security vector. Right now if there is an issue with the remote cron job connecting to the service those processes simply won’t run. For it to have access to the WPE instance, that means there are SSH keys sitting on a server somewhere that may not be receiving security updates and be easily accessible to hackers. This is the exact mistake I’ve helped multiple companies recover from after complete take overs. We also run cron tasks on a dedicated node so workloads won’t impact site performance.

We can provide automatic horizontal and vertical scaling. For instance if our client site gets a huge spike in traffic our platform can automatically spin up more resources to handle whatever load.

Dedicated Resources:
Outside of WPE’s enterprise plans, everything runs on shared hosting. On WPE every site runs alongside other sites that use shared resources (CPU, memory, network interfaces) and services (Database, cache, load balancer, etc) and this can impact performance negatively. Our bigger hosting plans have their own dedicated resources that can’t be touched by anything else to ensure consistently great performance. We can provide many advanced, improved options like dedicated IPs and dedicated load balancers without getting anywhere near WPE’s enterprise plans.

Media service:
Our platform offers a very performant media conversion and delivery system. PHP is a slow, interpreted scripting language and that is big reason why leveraging caching is critical when looking to help WordPress sites appear to run quickly. Our platform provides services, like media compression and delivery, natively to relieve as much pressure from WordPress as possible. It is generally standard to use a WordPress plugin to compress and convert media, like images. That approach is easy to implement but introduces a heavy workload directly on WordPress which can negatively impact handling user requests. Often on platforms like WPE, it’s not possible to install system libraries or programs that can best handle things like converting and compressing media, so plugins provide fallbacks that can technically do it but incur heavy resource costs and perform slowly. Our platform relieves WordPress of this task and handles compression and conversion on a physically separated worker node, so site performance is never impacted. This aspect of our platform runs at the system level and is written in a highly performant, compiled language with great concurrency primitives that have direct access to GPUs so converting and compressing media libraries of any size is no issue whatsoever. Another aspect of our media service focuses on delivering media as rapidly as possible by completely bypassing WordPress to serve up everything in the wp-content directory. This allows our platform to detect which media types a user’s browser supports in order to serve them the most optimized format possible in realtime.

Managed SSL certificates:
Automatically generate SSL certificates for unlimited domains and subdomains at no additional cost. Our platform intelligently creates and then renews all certificates well before their expiration dates so you’re always covered.

Managed flexible ingresses and application support:
We manage extremely flexible ingresses on your behalf at no additional cost. This will enable you to easily achieve basic configurations like associate as many domains with your site as you’d like. More importantly the flexibility of our ingresses enable more complex configurations, like mounting completely different applications or services on specific paths, allowing consolidation of SEO benefits as opposed to splitting across subdomains. Our platform can seamlessly run nearly any type of application and service alongside WordPress, so you will no longer be limited to offerings within WordPress or WPE for solving your business needs. WordPress is great at specific things but our platform enables you to not be limited to its offerings.

Security concerns:
Commercial hosting like WPE doesn’t meet our security standards, and we could never use such hosting and maintain our rigorous standards and integrity with security. Onyx powers and manages large applications, development tools and software, not just WordPress and website hosting, so we cannot inherit the security flaws and vulnerabilities often found in website hosting and poor website development.

There are many unideal security practices in the WPE/common commercial hosting system to mention, and we plan to detail these out further one day. One example is  when you create a backup it emails you a URL to download it. Emails can be sent in plaintext so they can be easily intercepted in certain situations. Just by accessing the backup itself it is making it possible to have it intercepted. On an SSL terminated connection (https) it would be possible to sniff out that URL since all requested URLs are public, then someone could download backups they shouldn’t have access to. WPE is relying on security by obscurity. For it to be secure they should require you to download it from the panel and include an auth header.