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Pangolia is a Digital Media, and E-commerce company with a portfolio of websites in the pet industry with a total readership of more than 9 million readers every month. The company was founded by Simon Treulle, and the team has now grown to more than 95 team members consisting of veterinarians, pet experts, and many other roles. Some of their biggest websites are PetKeen, Hepper, and ExcitedCats, which are all built on WordPress. Hepper is also using WooCommerce.
However, Pangolia had issues with the former hosting company that they were using. They were growing so fast that the host couldn’t support their growth anymore. This resulted in frequent website downtimes, slow loading speeds, and an overall frustrating experience. In this case study, we will take a look at why Pangolia in 2020 decided to move all their websites to Cloudways’ managed hosting. We’ll look at how that made their websites load extremely fast, no longer have uptime issues, and all-in-all allowed Pangolia to focus on their mission: to build the biggest, most helpful pet company in the world.
Cloudways: Why and when did you start Pangolia? Did you always love pets?
Simon Treulle: I founded Pangolia in 2019 as a digital media company. Back then it was a general media company with websites in many different industries such as gardening, home improvement, and the pet industry.
However, as a young entrepreneur, I realized more and more that focus was important. That if you have a website in every industry then you are likely to end up doing a mediocre job. However, if you focus on just one industry then you have a much higher chance of creating something that’s very helpful to your audience.
That combined with my lifelong love for pets meant that we in 2020 decided that Pangolia would from there on be a pet company.
Cloudways: Why did you choose WooCommerce when you rebuilt the Hepper.com website?
Simon Treulle: The main reason that we choose WooCommerce is because we have always used WordPress for building our websites, and all our training materials and systems are all focused on WordPress. Therefore, it would be very frustrating for us if we built Hepper on a different E-commerce CMS, as that means we would have to relearn a lot of the things we already know how to do inside WordPress.
We focus a lot on content marketing on Hepper, and it would be annoying if we had to relearn how to insert a comparison table, and how to insert a button, etc. inside a blog post.
Another reason why I recommend WooCommerce is because it is highly customizable, so you have a big influence on how your homepage, product listings, and checkout flow looks and feels.
But one of the negatives of WooCommerce is that you tend to have a lot of plugins that need to talk with each other. And the more customizations and plugins you add, the higher the chance that something ends up breaking. Therefore, I would recommend working closely with a developer that you know and trust. However, Cloudways’ customer support is also able to help with most issues.
So if you’re an experienced WordPress user then I would recommend using WooCommrece when launching your E-commerce store. However, if you’ve never used WordPress before then it might be worth considering some of the other E-commerce content management systems.
Cloudways: How much traffic does your portfolio of sites at Pangolia get on a monthly basis? Why did you decide to switch to Cloudways? What was lacking at the previous hosting provider?
Simon Treulle: Our portfolio of websites is visited by more than 9 million readers every month.
Before we were with Cloudways we were using another WordPress-focused hosting company. They were great at the start when we didn’t have as many visitors. But as a result of our fast growth our websites started crashing, and the backend became incredibly slow. This resulted in lost revenue, frustration, and our team wasting their time because the WordPress post editor was slow and unreliable. Not ideal.
That’s when we decided to switch to Cloudways. We switched because we had heard great things about Cloudways from friends and business partners. The primary reasons we switched was that we wanted our websites to always be online, with the fastest loading speeds, and with a fast backend so that our team could quickly and seamlessly publish blog posts. Cloudways’ managed WordPress hosting was perfect and very cost-effective for achieving that outcome.
As a company we didn’t want to get stuck focusing on website hosting. Instead, we wanted to focus our time and resources where we could make a difference: by creating great content and products that help improve the lives of pets and their owners.
Cloudways: Was it easy to migrate a large website portfolio with more than 9 million visitors a month to Cloudways?
Simon Treulle: It was actually surprisingly easy and seamless to migrate our websites to Cloudways. We used the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin, and it was fast and resulted in a flawless migration for all of our websites.
Our website portfolio at that time consisted of around 15 websites, and it only took me 3-4 hours to migrate all of them. That’s very fast for big websites that have thousands of posts on them.
All in all moving to Cloudways has been a smart move for us. We save money, our websites load extremely fast, and the Cloudways support team has always been very helpful and fast.
Cloudways: Cloudways is a multi-cloud platform. Does that flexibility & choice help you maintain a portfolio of WooCommerce websites?
Simon Treulle: We have multiple websites, so we have taken the approach of diversifying our hosting across the different providers and locations that Cloudways offers.
We do this to avoid putting all our eggs in one basket. Yes, all of the cloud providers on Cloudways are solid with an impressive uptime history. However, it still happens every couple of months that a server might have some downtime. So if one of the cloud providers has any downtime or performance issues, then that is very unlikely to affect our other websites since we have diversified them across different data centers, geographical locations, and computer servers.
Cloudways: What are five key features that you really like at Cloudways and helped you manage a site like Hepper.com?
Simon Treulle: 1. Cloudways’ control panel: We were used to cPanel, so we were a bit hesitant to move away from that. However, Cloudways’ control panel is super simple and has made it easier for us to manage our sites.
2. Cloudways’ managed hosting and customer support: Since Cloudways was a lot more cost-effective than other hosting solutions, we were initially worried if the customer support would be good. But after using Cloudways for more than 2 years we can confidently say that Cloudways’ customer support has been the best support we’ve ever received from a managed hosting company. The uptime and loading speeds have also been much better than any other web host we’ve ever used. We rate Cloudways’ customer support 9/10 stars.
3. Cloudways’ staging environment and server duplication feature: We really like that we can create a copy of one of our websites in just a couple of clicks, and the cloning usually only takes a couple of minutes.
4. The ability to quickly increase server size: It’s great that we can quickly increase the server’s size without having to open a support ticket. We love that we can just do it from Cloudways’ control panel.
5. SSL certificates: It’s so simple and fast to create an SSL certificate with Cloudways.
Cloudways: How about the new Cloudflare Enterprise feature? Have you already tried it?
Simon Treulle: We already use Cloudflare and have spent many hours configuring its setting to fit our needs. Since we’ve spent so much time on it, and works well we are hesitant to move over to the Cloudflare Enterprise feature since we are afraid that means we would have to reconfigure all those settings inside CloudFlare again, and maybe we won’t even be able to change those things since it might be managed by Cloudways?
Cloudways: While researching, we saw that you use WPRocket? Why do you think it’s a great caching plugin?
Simon Treulle: We’re using the WP Rocket caching plugin because it was highly recommended by my friends. It’s also very simple to configure, and it has also been giving us the best performance when compared to all the other caching plugins we’ve tested.
Cloudways: Did you also try Object Cache Pro to improve database performance of WooCommerce store (Hepper)?
Simon Treulle: Yup, we’re already using this on all of our sites; my developer set it up as soon as he heard about the partnership a few months ago (Object Cache Pro normally costs $95 per month). It utilizes the Redis Cache on the servers to significantly reduce database queries and cache PHP functions on WordPress. It definitely contributed to improved performance and resource reduction. Our uncached page requests (so before CloudFlare caches it) have a very small query request due to Object Cache Pro.
Cloudways: Has Cloudways helped you save money or increase productivity?
Simon Treulle: Yes, Cloudways has definitely helped us increase productivity and save money. Cloudways’ Managed hosting means that I can comfortably go to sleep without having to worry about excessive server crashes or slow loading speeds. The fact that it is managed hosting means that we as a team can focus on dedicating our time and focus on things that truly help improve the lives of pets and their owners.
Something that we find incredibly valuable for our productivity as a team is to have a fast website backend so that working in the WordPress post editor is an enjoyable experience. This is an area where Cloudways’ managed hosting has been giving us the best performance by far when compared to the other countless hosting companies we’ve used over the years.
So all in all, yes. Investing our time and money into Cloudways has been a great decision that will greatly help us on our mission: to build the biggest, most helpful pet company in the world.
Cloudways: What overall impact did Cloudways have on your business?
Simon Treulle: The reliability and fast loading speeds of Cloudways have played a big part in helping us grow our monthly readership from 3 million to 9 million within just one year.
The faster website loading speed has increased the productivity of our team, and we’re confident that it has also helped us rank higher in organic search.
All of this combined has had a very positive impact on our revenue growth.
Cloudways: What makes Cloudways different from other managed hosting providers?
Simon Treulle: There are 4 primary reasons that we decided to migrate our websites over to Cloudways:
1. Cloudways has extremely fast loading speeds, and it is very very rare that the servers are down.
2. Cost-effectiveness. We’re saving a lot of money from hosting our websites with Cloudways. It can quickly get very expensive if you use other WordPress-focused hosting companies.
3. Ability to quickly scale up the server size without needing to open a support ticket.
4. A lightweight and easy-to-use control panel. In the past, we’ve used complex hosting control panels that were hard to understand, expensive, and that drastically slowed down the website loading speed.
The reliability and fast loading speeds of Cloudways helped grow our monthly readership from 3 million to 9 million within just one year.Start Free Now
Cloudways: Do you advise other WooCommerce store owners to move to Cloudways? And why?
Simon Treulle: Yes, there are a couple of reasons why I would advise other WooCommerce store owners to move to Cloudways:
First, you want to be confident that your website is online, and that it is loading fast. If these things are not in order then that will be very frustrating for your customers.
The second reason is that WooCommerce websites tend to get quite bulky with all the plugins and features that they have. This means that you’re going to need a more powerful server to support this infrastructure. Scaling up a server with more resources is way more cost-effective at Cloudways than with most other hosting companies.
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