City of Boston

A WordPress Hosting customer study.

Customer: City of Boston

The city of Boston is the largest city in New England, and one of the oldest and most well-known cities in the United States. Founded in 1630, Boston is considered to be an international center of higher education. Their government website is designed to be a place for their constituents to interact with the city digitally.

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tl;dr

Home to more than 600,000 residents and numerous different state authorities, the city of Boston needed a way to protect and maintain their legacy WordPress sites. After numerous hacks it became clear they were spending too much time and resources on upkeep, which wasn’t sustainable in the long run. Pagely stepped in to provide higher security and hands-off maintenance to keep the City’s reputation and public image clean and professional.

"The most important reason that we, as a city, are paying Pagely is that they free up our time. We now spend that time building things for the constituents of Boston, instead of maintaining WordPress."
City of Boston Matthew Crist - Senior Developer, Department of Innovation & Technology

The Challenge

The main site for the city of Boston is not WordPress; it’s Drupal. We launched that site last July, but before we were able to do so, a number of our departments had created their own, separate sites using WordPress. Today, we have maybe 20 or 30 legacy WordPress sites that are being updated by various individual departments.

Before Pagely, we were hosting all those sites here, within City Hall, on our own physical server. They were never maintained, and we never updated the code base. Ultimately, we had a lot of sites getting hacked.

We’d go in and clean them up, but they’d just get hacked again. In reality, people just weren’t really paying attention to them, and it was creating a huge security risk. We didn’t have the time or resources to spend on maintaining them internally, so we decided to find a provider to take care of those sites for us. We wanted to allow individual departments to keep the sites that they had set up, without sacrificing security or dedicating our time to server maintenance and site upkeep. Ultimately, that brought us to Pagely.

The Solution

After starting to work with Pagely, our legacy WordPress sites are a lot more secure -- we’re not as worried about them getting hacked. As a city, we need to look official, and when we get reports from constituents that they’re seeing random ads thanks to security leaks, it doesn’t look good for us. That doesn’t happen anymore.

The best part for us was that we didn’t have to do any of the migration - we’d just send files and databases over to Pagely and they’d take care of it for us. They told us that the migration of different elements might take a day or two: they were usually done within an hour. We’ve had to contact support a couple of times since we signed on with them, but any questions I’ve had were handled immediately, over chat.

All in all, we have about 20 sites now hosted with Pagely. The Boston Planning and Development Agency is the biggest user of WordPress, and while we don’t expect our number of WordPress sites to increase, our primary mission is to make people’s lives easier through digital engagement with the city. Pagely plays a big part in that goal.

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