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WP Engine, a Texas startup that hosts websites based on the open-source WordPress content-management system, is closing out quarter after quarter with new business. Now it’s introducing a feature that big businesses should dig.

Today WP Engine is telling customers about a new disaster-recovery option for automatically sending web traffic to an alternative data center in the event of a catastrophe at the data center they primarily use.

It’s not the sexiest feature. But it could help WP Engine assure companies, colleges, and other organization that it’s up to the task of delivering sites all day, every day. And that’s important, with well-funded Automattic, IPO-bound GoDaddy, and Pantheon, among others, also hosting WordPress sites.

WP Engine claims more than 23,000 customers running more than 200,000 domains. That means its customer account has shot up 130 percent in the past year. New customers include Etsy, Arnette, the Humane Society of the United States, and VentureBeat. (Yes, you read that right.)


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“WordPress has really reached this kind of tipping point where much larger businesses are adopting WordPress as a core technology for their content,” Heather Brunner, the startup’s chief executive, told VentureBeat in an interview. “Just seeing that adoption, we’ve been able to really benefit in terms of providing a platform and service and really creating kind of an enterprise-scale solution for businesses who want to adopt WordPress.”

That doesn’t always mean winning business from WordPress hosters like Automattic’s WordPress VIP (which doesn’t disclose its customer count but says it served 2.7 billion page views in the past 30 days). Rather, WP Engine has been picking up revenue by taking websites from what Brunner called “generic hosts,” including BlueHost and GoDaddy, as well as cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. That’s where having a “WordPress specialist” is desirable, Brunner said.

And this summer, WP Engine startup established WP Engine Labs, where it’s researching the Facebook-developed Hip Hop Virtual Machine, mirroring in Amazon’s S3 public-cloud-storage tier, and methods of improving resiliency, speed, and caching.

“We’re innovating both on the core and innovating on what’s new,” Brunner said.

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