Where there is a will, there is a way. This statement fits exactly for the WordPress Power User, Mayank Gupta. With nine years of experience under his belt, Mayank has won himself great accolades with his true dedication, selflessness and a flawless desire to remain ahead of his competitors.
He is the founder of Monks Bistro, one of India’s leading digital media services providing startups, known for providing cutting-edge yet convenient web solutions to its clients. Since its inception in 2014, the startup has successfully made its presence felt amongst the top tier digital media service providers in India. The company has got operational offices in New Delhi and Chandigarh.
Keeping up with our most popular interview series, we welcome Mayank Gupta – the WordPress Power User – on board. During this interview, he shares his opinions about WordPress’ flexibility and the important role of WordPress community.
He also sheds light on security issues facing WordPress and also recommends a fruitful strategy to keep WordPress websites safe. Mayank Gupta is very much optimistic about the future of WordPress and insists that the world’s most popular content management system is going to sustain a healthy lead against its competitors – thanks to the dedicated work of the community around it.
Cloudways: It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Do you remember what sparked your interest in WordPress? Tell us about your first experience with this CMS?
Mayank: Funny story! The first time I used WordPress was for my tech blog (ReviewSaurus) back in 2006. I hated it back then, because Blogger was much simpler to use. However, my hunger to customize my blog and Blogger’s limitations made me turn back to WordPress within two months and ever since then, no other web content management software has impressed me as much.
Cloudways: You have an extensive experience of more than eight years in WordPress. Do you believe that this CMS has made better progress in terms of its own development, relative to its competitors?
Mayank: Well, nine years now. Of course, and all the credit goes to the community around WordPress. WordPress which began its journey as a blog publishing software has now grown into a wonderful and powerful web content management system. And the direction it’s going towards, the world has started to look at it as a web application framework.
StoryCrops used WordPress as its backend along with WP JSON API to power their mobile app as well. We ourselves have built a mobile app for an event management company using the Ionic framework that lets ticket checkers at event venues check-in the audience using the application.
The speed at which WordPress is growing amazes me. For instance, there are a lot of commercial CMSes with license fees in thousands of dollars and they don’t even offer a multi-site feature. Needless to say, other CMSes haven’t grown as much as WordPress has.
Cloudways: In your expert opinion, why does WordPress dominate the CMS market? What features of this software are the secrets of its success?
Mayank: Once again, every inch of success that WordPress enjoys and dominates the CMS market is because of the involvement of its community. Even Drupal and Joomla have a huge community around them but they aren’t ruling the CMS market. Their community is not as big as WordPress. The community of WordPress has focused on making it easy to use, they’ve evangelised it, have spent thousands of hours on making tutorials and tools to make WordPress what it is today.
Again, the secret of success does not lie in features because most of the mature CMSes have standard features. I believe the following factors played a bigger role in the success of WordPress:
- Ease of use: If you’ve used Drupal, Joomla and WordPress all together – you would know what I am talking about.
- Availability of quality plugins: Want to make WordPress into ecommerce, membership site, social media service – think of anything and there is a high quality plugin available for it and that too in open-source!
- Open-source: The entry point becomes very cheap as compared to commercial solutions like Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager etc.
Cloudways: There are innumerable WordPress developers, companies and consultants. Considering how saturated the market is, what is your strategy to stand out both personally and, as a company Monks Bistro?
Mayank: This isn’t an easy one! I don’t think that the market is saturated. If one only looks at WordPress as the market where the competition lies, then one would never be able to grow. The competition is everywhere – when you enter in mid-size to medium size business – the competition grows from WordPress to multiple CMS’s with strong commercial backing.
I believe that it’s important to stay competitive in the market by maintaining industry standards, continuous learning and keeping up with trends. I always say to myself that if I can surpass industry standards and set trends then I will always be ahead of the competitors.
Cloudways: We know that WordPress is very flexible. It branches out into themes, frameworks, plugins, web hosting, SEO, blogging, and more. Just like the CMS, do you think businesses built around WordPress can emulate the flexibility?
Mayank: Businesses built around WordPress will have to emulate the flexibility to stay in the market. In fact, it’s all the more relevant for any IT company. This industry changes rapidly and it becomes an essential requirement for businesses to adapt rapid changes and be flexible to stay ahead of the curve.
Cloudways: At what point did you opt to hire a team of skilled people to work with you in order to start your own WordPress development company?
Mayank: From the start. I was always a WordPress power user and wasn’t a developer or designer so I needed people with these skills to start my own WordPress development company.
Cloudways: How do you respond to clients who claim that WordPress is an insecure platform? Do you have a recommended recipe to secure WordPress?
Mayank: “Are you 100% sure that you will never be robbed or will not experience theft in your house in your entire life?” Mostly, this does the job but if client still gives me a dumb look, I explain further. If no one can ever be 100% sure about these simple things about your own house – then how can I claim that WordPress is 100% secure? However people take measures to avoid these unwanted events. Similarly, one needs to take the responsibility of their WordPress site to make it secure and hack-proof.
My recommended recipe for securing WordPress is to simply use a premium managed hosting company – like Cloudways. They maintain regular backups – maintain a stricter hosting environment conducive to WordPress. It really takes away the hassle and saves tons of time! Although, if you’re someone who like DIY style – then following blog posts are a good place to start:
- Hardening WordPress
- Keeping WordPress secure: The ultimate Guide
- Hardening WordPress Security – 25 tips
Cloudways: High traffic websites with multimedia and plugin rich web pages tend to crawl slowly on Search Engines. WordPress is notorious in terms of website loading speed. Is there a need for specialists focused on building optimized web hosting servers for WordPress?
Mayank: Of course! If you want to ensure that your web pages are fast to load then following factors need to be covered and for these factors to be top notch, these specialists are required:
WordPress developer: A professional is required who can write standard WordPress plugin and theme code and understands the WordPress framework. There are times when complex queries are written and for that purpose, the professional should have deeper understanding of MySQL database as well.
Server Admin: A professional who understands WordPress, Nginx, can apply caching solutions like APC, Memcached or HTTP accelerator like Varnish or someone who can use Redis to scale the website, maintain backups and have disaster recovery solutions ready.
Thankfully, first two problems can be solved using high quality WordPress themes & plugins. And the third problem can be solved by using WordPress specialized hosting and services like Cloudways.
Cloudways: As you are hosting multiple WordPress websites with Cloudways, what are your views on Cloudways offering WordPress optimized cloud hosting service? Are you satisfied with the performance of your servers and the customer service?
Mayank: When I discovered Cloudways, I was like “Damn it, I wanted to build this!” But, I’m glad that you guys did what was important for customers like me. I’m in love with the fact that I can quickly launch WordPress optimized servers on multiple providers like Digital Ocean, AWS or Google Compute Engine.
It gives me the flexibility to install multiple apps on each server and the fact that it lets me give specific server’s control to various team member. Daily backups, cloning feature, varnish cache, reports – you’ve got it all covered!
I can safely say that I’m very much happy with the performance of Cloudways optimized servers.
Cloudways: Give us an honest assessment of Cloudways Cloud Hosting Platform. Would you recommend it to peers in the WordPress industry? If so, what would you say to convince them to migrate to Cloudways?
Mayank: Cloudways deserves a pat on the back! You guys have sort of redefined cloud hosting and I’m loving it! I’m sure that once someone will use your service, it’ll be hard for them to go back to traditional cPanel based hosting AKA shared hosting.
I’d say that in the last 9 years, there are hardly 5-10 hosting companies that have really impressed me and Cloudways is amongst the top three for sure! I think Cloudways satisfies all my needs no matter which role I’m playing – be it as a techie, team player or as a businessman. As a suggestion, it’ll be great to see team control on application level too!
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