StudioPress released Synthesis, a managed WordPress hosting service, in 2011.
It was praised for its strong security measures but even then, it wasn't safe enough to avoid an acquisition. In 2018, StudioPress was acquired by WP Engine who announced the closure of Synthesis on December of the same year.
So, what does this shutdown mean for you? Read my Synthesis hosting review to find out.
Why has Synthesis Closed?
To understand the situation, we need to know a bit about WP Engine and the current WordPress hosting market.
Contemporary estimates suggest that 30% of the top 10 million websites are powered by WordPress. Many venture capitalists have sought to profit from WordPress's success by investing in WordPress hosting services.
WP Engine is one service that has attracted investor attention. In January 2018 it received a $250 million investment from Silver Lake. The funding was intended to 'fuel innovation on WP Engine’s Digital Experience Platform'. It seems highly likely that these funds were used to purchase StudioPress six months later, though WP Engine hasn't made a public statement to that effect.
According to WP Engine, it was primarily interested in getting its hands on the StudioPress Genesis framework, a WordPress platform that makes it easy to swap themes. Genesis had been widely admired for its powerful inbuilt SEO tools. Apparently, WP Engine also wanted access to StudioPress's 60+ professional WordPress themes.
In short, WP Engine wasn't really interested in Synthesis but unintentionally acquired it as part of its StudioPress purchase. Presumably, WP Engine saw no value in continuing to operate Synthesis, which was a direct competitor to WP Engine's own WordPress hosting service.
Next Steps: What Does The Shutdown Mean For You?
If you haven't moved your site to WP Engine or another web hosting service, it will already be inaccessible to readers and you need to migrate it as fast as possible. Simply follow WP Engine's migration guide which only takes about ten minutes to complete.
Any Synthesis WordPress hosting credit will be added to your WP Engine account when you migrate. But be warned: once you migrate, WP Engine will start billing you at a new monthly rate that might be more expensive than your old Synthesis charge.
The Differences Between Synthesis and WP Engine
Because they're both managed WordPress hosts, WP Engine and Synthesis both come with lots of features to enhance your WordPress environment. One key Synthesis benefit was its integration with the StudioPress Genesis framework that has now become part of WP Engine. Essentially, most of Synthesis's unique features have now been added to WP Engine, so you won't miss out by transferring.
And when it comes to standard hosting resources, you'll actually get extra storage space and more relaxed bandwidth restrictions with WP Engine than you did with Synthesis:
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Note that you can reduce the WP Engine monthly price to $29 by paying annually. Effectively, this means you'll be getting better value for money with WP Engine than you were with Synthesis.
At the end of the day, the consumer hasn't lost out too badly through WP Engine's shutdown of Synthesis.
Because WP Engine has continued to support StudioPress's Genesis framework, you can still get access to all of the things you loved about your old Synthesis hosting package.
And you can get all of that - for a better value.
What do you think of the Synthesis shutdown? Please add Synthesis hosting reviews of your own below!