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In 2003, Kelly Hodsdon embarked on a journey to establish 123 Enterprises Inc. as a solo endeavor. With time, the company flourished and expanded into a team of twelve dynamic individuals. Despite the growth, Kelly’s involvement with the company’s tools and products remained deep and intimate, ensuring an unwavering commitment to quality.
But as the company grew, so did its challenges. They needed a way to streamline their development processes and enhance their performance and security. That’s when they discovered Cloudways, which helped them easily migrate 15 development sites and reduce their hosting costs by 70%.
In this case study, Kelly Hodsdon shares his experience of how Cloudways helped him deliver high-quality solutions to its clients while keeping its operational costs low. His journey inspires all those seeking to overcome challenges and achieve success in the world of web application development.
Cloudways: Please tell us about 123 Enterprises, including your position at your company, your vision, responsibilities, and daily tasks.
Kelly Hodsdon: As the founder and CEO of 123 Enterprises Inc., I lead our agency by setting strategic goals and spearheading business development initiatives. Over the years, our journey from a one-person operation to a dynamic team of twelve has necessitated an evolution in my role. Despite this growth, I remain intimately involved with our tools and products, ensuring that our hands-on approach and commitment to quality remain unwavering.
123 Enterprises has spent two decades honing our expertise in web application development, specializing in leveraging the WordPress framework. Our applications are not only practical but also extensible and scalable to ensure that they evolve as your business does.
Our primary focus is understanding and delivering upon our customers’ unique needs. Whether crafting a purpose-built app from scratch or tailoring one of our existing products, we’re committed to providing solutions that truly maximize value for our clients. At 123 Enterprises, your business goals drive our innovation.
Cloudways: Can you share the story of your agency’s growth and development over the years, including any major milestones or challenges you have faced?
Kelly Hodsdon: My journey with 123 Enterprises began by aiding small businesses with their websites and launching my own projects. Over time, I discovered my unique talent lay in resolving technical challenges and enhancing online marketing strategies. This dual focus is where we have concentrated our energies and expertise.
We further specialized in application development as we expanded into the enterprise realm and began collaborations with Fortune 500 companies. This strategic evolution has fueled our organic growth over the past decade.
Cloudways: What’s the project process your agency undertakes, including the steps involved, the roles of different team members, and the timeline from start to finish?
Kelly Hodsdon: Projects at 123 Enterprises span a wide spectrum. Still, they typically fall into one of two categories: customizing and implementing our existing solutions, like the widely used 123 Enterprise Content Management System, or crafting unique applications that solve distinct client challenges.For instance, we’ve developed a web portal that seamlessly processes millions of manufacturing files, allowing customers to download the relevant files to validate the authenticity of their specific device. We’ve built a flexible approval flow application that efficiently tracks a submission through five stages of approval, complete with audits.
We’ve also created a specialized tool for managing intricate content via a spreadsheet, allowing users to search, sort, and filter data in many ways. This project diversity reflects our ability to adapt and innovate based on our clients’ unique requirements.
Cloudways: Why do customers prefer to work with your agency? Can you share any unique selling points or competitive advantages?
Kelly Hodsdon: Customers are drawn to 123 Enterprises for two primary reasons. Firstly, our Right Fit Review™ consultation provides a mutual understanding and assurance that we can successfully undertake and deliver on the proposed project. Secondly, they appreciate our personalized service and its distinct advantage to their team.
Most of our clients are referrals from existing clients, so they engage us after seeing our work for their colleagues or friends.
Cloudways: Since different types of hosting solutions are available, why were you specifically looking for a managed hosting provider?
Kelly Hodsdon: We sought a managed hosting solution to streamline and consolidate our development processes. We had previously scattered our development sites across AWS, LiquidWeb, and two shared hosting services. This fragmented approach resulted in significant differences in environments, challenging establishing uniform processes and standards.
In addition, we wanted to free up our SysOps capabilities from the responsibilities of managing infrastructure – something that other companies already excel at. Managed hosting was the logical choice, allowing us to focus on what we do best: building and maintaining top-notch web applications for our clients.
The key was to find a platform that could host our client’s sites and allow us to leverage the same tools, security measures, and automation we were already familiar with. The essential features that we were looking for included:
Cloudways: What made you choose Cloudways? Was it the user-friendly platform, the affordable pricing, or the excellent customer support?
Kelly Hodsdon: Our journey to Cloudways began as we grappled with various issues related to our existing hosting and Virtual Private Server (VPS) providers. As we delved into our research, seeking solutions, one name kept recurring: DigitalOcean. Impressed with its capabilities, we set up a fully scripted Droplet in less than three hours. However, it clearly didn’t provide the managed hosting solution we were searching for.
That’s when we discovered Cloudways, referenced on DigitalOcean’s site. Intrigued, we dug deeper and realized it perfectly aligned with our requirements.
Cloudways offered comprehensive managed support and robust automation capabilities through APIs and command-line interfaces. It also provided scalable and cost-effective storage solutions with Block Storage, along with being optimized for handling multiple database-driven applications. This unique blend of features made Cloudways the ideal choice for us, ticking all our boxes and addressing the challenges we were facing with our previous providers.
Cloudways: How does Cloudways compare with your previous or other hosting solutions? How did Cloudways improve your web development processes?
Kelly Hodsdon: Cloudways has proven to be a revelation in several aspects. The first thing that struck me was its intuitive handling of routine tasks. This includes effortlessly spinning up a new VPS, ensuring every application is paired with a compatible MariaDB database, and providing options for default WordPress installations, including Multisite.
Additionally, the ease of configuring WordPress cron and access support, cloning sites, and even small conveniences like a single-click copy of a name or password have all contributed to the platform’s user-friendliness. These features have not only saved us time but have also enhanced our efficiency from the very first day we started using Cloudways.
Cloudways: How does the pricing of Cloudways compare to other cloud hosting providers, and what factors affect the cost of using our services?
Kelly Hodsdon: Needing, at times, terabytes of storage have always been a significant cost to us with our previous hosting provider. Still, with Cloudways Block Storage, the pricing for our VPS services is the lowest, 70% exactly – and it’s seamlessly integrated, including all the bells and whistles.
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Cloudways: Can you provide specific examples of the problems that Cloudways has helped you solve in terms of time saved, cost reduction, or other benefits?
Kelly Hodsdon: Cloudways has proven instrumental in solving many of our hosting and operational issues. For example, we managed to migrate our 15 development sites to Cloudways in under 3 days – a task that had previously been a 2-month ordeal filled with complications at our previous hosting provider.
Another key benefit is the platform’s cloning feature and fast site access. These elements have eliminated the challenge of managing multiple developers on the same platform, resulting in fewer hosting conflicts. As a result, our development team saves significant hours every week, greatly improving our overall productivity.
Lastly, we have had limited need for support so far; there is good documentation online and a healthy internet community familiar with Cloudways. The few times I have needed support, they were responsive and accurate. So far, Cloudways has solved our specific needs and even has proactively contacted our account representative to check if we have any questions or needs.
Cloudways: In what ways has using Cloudways as your cloud hosting provider added value to your business?
Kelly Hodsdon: As I mentioned, Cloudways frees us up to do what we’re supposed to do: application development, customer support, and maintenance. In the past, we’ve lost hours messing around with server installations.
Cloudways also makes it easy to provide application and server access to our team. I can easily add or remove somebody from an application with a checkbox. Our developers can also easily clone a working application, put their code in, and I can even review it on their site.
Every time you take one little point of resistance out of the way, it makes everything easier. Cloudways has lowered those barriers of resistance.
We’ve lost endless hours in the past with access issues and debugging the server configurations themselves, things we shouldn’t have to debug in the first place. Cloudways simply just works and is setting the standard. That’s why we’re going to be on Cloudways. It’s so clear that this is the right place for us to be.
Cloudways: Based on your experience, what specific features would you highlight as reasons to recommend Cloudways to someone looking for cloud hosting?
Kelly Hodsdon: As a VPS service, the well-managed and affordable packages at Cloudways can’t be beaten. Adding services like SafeUpdates for WordPress and Cloudflare Enterprise add-on for security and performance adds even more value for those who need it.
With Cloudways, everything I want to do is easy and right there in the interface. Each simple step is a time saver. That’s what really impresses me. After all the hosting providers we’ve had, Cloudways has done it the way it should have been all along. Nobody else is doing it this way.
I feel like we’re free to develop now. We’re free to move ahead. Cloudways is a 100% win for us in terms of our internal development structure, and we’re launching all our sites on Cloudways.
We’re also working on bringing one of our first major external clients onto their own VPS at Cloudways. Since Cloudways has features like SafeUpdates for WordPress and the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on, this should help our client meet all their security requirements.
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