fairly marvellous CIC - Case Study

Here’s Why fairly marvellous CIC Relies on Cloudways to Manage Its MemberPress Sites


fairly marvellous CIC


In Conversation With

Jonathan Gwyer
Jonathan Gwyer

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About fairly marvellous CIC

fairly marvellous CIC is a non-profit, community interest company. Once the team has been paid and its costs recovered, any surplus profit is reinvested into helping small local businesses and good causes grow online.

Not only does the company design websites but it also fully manages them for their clients. That means they were on the hunt for trustworthy infrastructure that would set no limits for their clients. That was when they stumbled upon Cloudways.

Cloudways: What challenges were you facing that compelled you to start looking for a better solution?

Jonathan: Typical shared hosting has limits that are all about protecting the provider. So-called unlimited plans never are and when you have multiple users accessing non-cached content you soon find the limitations.

When you offer a fully managed service for your clients, reliable infrastructure and good support, like what’s offered by Cloudways, is critical.

Cloudways: What specific solution were you looking for in your ideal solution to your problem?

Jonathan: We needed VPS hosting but didn’t want to get bogged down in the server management. Most providers had a huge jump in cost between unmanaged and managed.

Cloudways: How did you figure Cloudways had the best solution for your problems?

Jonathan: We’d seen lots of good things said about Cloudways and many recommendations in various Facebook groups. The combination of flexibility and reasonable pricing looked great.

Cloudways: What success did you initially face when porting to Cloudways?

Jonathan: Setting up our first server and application was so easy, and it’s easy to migrate a site. We “tested” support with a question early on (they passed!) Within hours we’d decided to upgrade our free trial to paid – we didn’t need days.

Cloudways: Has Cloudways helped you save money or increase productivity?

Jonathan: We have saved money on our bigger, complex sites. But the overall increase in productivity has encouraged us to move even our smallest sites over to Cloudways. On the one hand, this costs more than the shared hosting we were using. On the other hand, the improvement in performance and reliability has saved us time, which means money saved in the long run.

Cloudways: What do you advise the people willing to host their MemberPress sites with Cloudways?

Jonathan: Take out the free trial to get the hang of the service and try out a migration.

If your membership site is a new idea then the simple scalability means you can try out your idea before spending too much money. With small businesses and charities, it’s important to try walking before running.

Cloudways: What are some features that you think allowed you to manage MemberPress on Cloudways?

Jonathan: Being able to clone sites quickly makes it much easier to try out new ideas, test features, and demonstrate it all to our clients. We’re really excited about the new free Object Cache Pro offering as this will help with uncached performance, which is important for membership sites.

We can easily keep an eye on our CPU and RAM utilization and not have to worry about the hidden limitations, like limiting PHP workers or inodes, that other hosts impose. We can take the decision to upgrade when we’re ready, or optimize costs by sharing a more powerful server between one large application and other smaller ones.

Cloudways: What cloud providers did you choose? What do you think of the flexibility of choosing a cloud provider at Cloudways?

Jonathan: We currently have a mix of DigitalOcean and Vultr. The ability to just fire up a server within minutes and only pay for the days it is live is brilliant, so we can compare an app’s performance on, for example, Google Cloud easily.

Cloudways: How do you find our staging environment and cloning feature?

Jonathan: Cloning is invaluable, the ability to fire up a dev copy of a site in minutes is great when working with clients. We now do all our development on a Cloudways server equivalent to our live environment rather than locally, which makes it so much easier to work as a team and to demonstrate.

We maintain an app running our default WordPress/Astra/BeaverBuilder stack, preconfigured with all the options and plugins we use for most of our sites, which we can keep up-to-date. It then takes moments to clone that stack and start building a site for a new client.

Cloudways: How would you rate our customer support experience?

Jonathan: On the rare occasions, I’ve had issues or queries, the live chat has been great. I also know our account manager is always keeping an eye on how things are going!

As members of the Agency Program, the advanced support we receive is reassuring.

Cloudways: What overall impact did Cloudways have on your business? Before and after? Speed, performance, multiple site management?

Jonathan: Cloudways has made it much easier for us to scale our business and manage so many servers and applications. With a good broadband connection, developing on a Cloudways server can be faster than using a local development tool.

We’re not restricted to the backup, optimization, or management tools that we can use, so we can pick the best tools for the job. Some hosts won’t let you use whatever you want, because it conflicts with the way they stretch their environments.

Cloudways: Was there anything surprising about moving to Cloudways?

Jonathan: We’ve saved time and money – two very important resources for a non-profit!

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