WPAlchemy - Case Study

How Cloudways Helped WPAlchemy.io Reduce Hosting Costs up to 100% for Its Clients


In Conversation With

John Mac
Owner – WPAlchemy

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About Alchemy

WPAlchemy.io is a digital agency that offers customized solutions for online businesses. Their main focus is on website performance, security, and customization. John Mac, the founder of WPAlchemy.io, was looking for a managed hosting provider that can offer him scalability flexibility, and more control. After trying different options, he ended up his search with Cloudways.

Read on to learn the specific challenges he faced before moving to Cloudways and how he’s able to meet his clients’ requirements now.

Cloudways: Thank you for doing this case study with us, John. Let’s start with a brief introduction about you and your company.

John I’m John Mac. A free, independent, and fully self-educated freelancer and business owner from Norway. Now enjoying a flexible lifestyle in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I have built my web design and coaching business from my condo and coffee shops worldwide.

I have two main areas of focus. Web design and systems setup have become my tech craft. But I also have a tribe of followers and an interest in body, mind, and spiritual growth. I offer mindset coaching.

When it comes to hosting, my way of offering this to my customers became popular. So, just recently, I partnered up with two buddies in the US. And will now be expanding and offering this to new customers. We call it WPAlchemy.io. And we will continue to use Cloudways to provide excellent hands-on hosting service to our customers.

My model and idea of running a business are to take really good care of my clients and offer them solutions that make their online business flexible and with ownership of what I build for them.

I suggest and advise them to own their platform. With that, I mean to set up and build systems that they can design, configure, and modify as much as possible instead of renting expensive solutions and being stuck with what they have on that platform.

WordPress and custom page-builders make it flexible for customers to design, build and integrate various solutions into their websites. And with this, I also consult my clients on how to set up proper hosting.

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

John First of all, over the years, I learned more and more about hosting and what NOT to choose. Most people simply pick the first service they come over to – or whatever a friend recommends.

It’s not been just a few times I have been helping clients in the past with limited and shitty hosting services. It’s been too often and it’s still something I consult new clients on.

So a few years ago, I wanted to improve the hosting quality for my own websites and projects. I signed up for one of the leading premium hosting services for freelancers and agencies. It was better, and the support was great.

So I started adding some of my clients to this hosting plan. But that’s when I, over time, discovered what was NOT so great with this service and similar services. They had a price PER website, which makes the scaling hopeless. It was too limited access to server settings and options to configure anything.

Support could never answer me on what server I was actually on. So my client’s websites (including mine) were just floating around in space on some secluded hidden box with random capacity.

One of my biggest and most important clients had several downtimes during campaigns. The servers couldn’t handle the traffic and crashed the site. This premium hosting couldn’t keep up! The service kept demanding more and more upgrades of server resources. Whatever that meant in the backend.

So to me, it all became a joke, and I also got tired of this mystical and limited hosting service. I won’t discredit them completely. Because support was good. And the service is great if you don’t care about the cost or need any customizations for your clients.

But for me, all this hassle made it harder to support and help my clients. Which is more important than pleasing the relationship with a hosting company. I guard my client’s well-being very closely.

Cloudways: What were you looking for as an ideal solution to your problem?

John: I wanted more flexibility, control, and to know what server I was on. Not just some black mystical box in a server park somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. I was looking for a service where I could activate my own servers and KNOW what websites run on them.

Everything would work out so much better if I had control and could actually TELL the client what server they are on. And if I had a support team that knew how to manage those servers, I was setting up. Cloudways have been amazing with that.

I usually don’t need help with much. But when I do, it’s amazing to have them on. So, this was a major reason that I decided to move all customers over to Cloudways. I know other services I could pick to lower the cost, but they wouldn’t have the support on a level like Cloudways.

Cloudways: You offer multiple WordPress services to your clients like speed optimization, better security, managed maintenance & more. How do you use Cloudways to solve your client’s problem(s)?

John: The most important features we mention to our customers are faster hosting, better security, proper SMTP email sending for WordPress, plus a few other benefits. Especially our WordPress maintenance deal. It’s easy to be confident in what you can offer at Cloudways because scaling is a few clicks away. Without moving the clients’ website.

Of course, we use the Bot Protection setup and cashing plugin. And Elastic Email setup for all customer’s websites by default. We use an external service for our WordPress maintenance and backup. This means we have a double-layer backup including Cloudways built-in solution.

To mention two major features that solve many website owners’ issues are having control of WordPress transactional email sending and PHP memory value.

Cloudways: How do you resell Cloudways to your clients?

John: When we activate new customers on our Cloudways hosting, we put them on the right server for their website traffic. We ensure they get a fast experience and show they have someone to handle their WordPress website and custom setup.

When I started this service, I wanted something for my clients and customers that was super simple, elegant, and with ONE price. A hosting package that makes them feel like it’s all taken care of. 90% of the time, it’s a one-price-fits-all. No choices. It’s simple.

When we tell new customers they get a much better, faster, scalable, secure, double-backed-up, and maintained WordPress hosting with no e-mail sending issues, it is easy to offer a package.

For regular websites, we manage this in a simple way; The price is the same for everyone, but we select one of three server sizes to put the customer on. Unless it’s a big project with heavy traffic. In that case, we find the price that makes sense for the customer and has not been an issue. Everyone is happy.

We offer them a more transparent, fast, and flexible solution where we focus on having their website system maintained. Customers seem to love knowing the website is on the best hosting and will be upgraded and backed up all over.

Cloudways: How did Cloudways turn out to be the best solution to your problems?

John: First of all, I now know I have full insight into what service I actually offer. I have the freedom and flexibility to modify clients’ hosting packages. Server size and settings are now available and not hidden. Also, the email sent through Elastic fixed many problems for many of my customers with issues exchanging emails from WordPress. Without having them set up their own SendGrid account.

Another great feature now is to actually have the option to adjust PHP memory settings. That’s been a very important setting to have control of for many of our customer’s websites that run virtual summits or WooCommerce stores.

And I don’t need to jump on a support chat, explain a situation, and wait for support to exclude a few URLs from caching. My team members, and I, have access and can handle that on our own now.

Finding other server and hosting solutions is easy at a lower cost. But they don’t have the support I was looking for. I am not interested in running a server park in that sense. I do NOT want to spend time managing and configuring servers.

I just want to offer proper flexible hosting. So, Cloudways became the perfect choice. They have the support team on chat. And not just a ticket system where you will have to sit and wait for a reply. The support team at Cloudways has been amazing in so many ways. Something I kept hearing over and over from a friend of mine here in Chiang Mai long before I signed up for Cloudways.

Cloudways: Do you have any advice for people or businesses that face the same problems you did?

John: If you don’t care about cost, flexibility, and know what servers your websites run on, you’re fine where ever you are. But if you want higher revenue, transparency, and flexible performance, it should be an easy choice to make a switch.

Simplicity is fine but can be limiting. In the long run, it will be a much better and sensible setup if offering hosting is part of the long-term plan.

Don’t worry too much about complicated setups. Cloudways is not hard to understand. It’s not about having to deal with complicated settings. That is just an option. You can easily start a server, click to install WordPress, and you’re ready.

It’s a MUCH better choice to start out in the best way, early, instead of doing what I did; Moving a long list of customer websites over to new hosting and starting fiddling with website migrations and lots of DNS changes.

If any of the reasons above make sense. Make a move to Cloudways now instead of waiting until the list of customers becomes unbearable to transfer.

Cloudways: When you initially moved to Cloudways, how did the change impact your business?

John: I think the biggest initial feeling was that I had landed at the right destination. I suddenly now felt more secure and confident in offering my hosting service. Because I knew what I was putting my customer’s website on.

Also, the pricing started to make sense. Both what I paid to Cloudways and what my customers are paying me.

I also felt safer because I had the Cloudways support team available anytime. And it’s nice to know that I’m not just “renting” space in a server park. I’m actually paying for my own server, which is not shared. And I can do what I want with it.

Cloudways: Has Cloudways helping you save more money or increase productivity?

John: I did for sure save on the server cost. The revenue increased instantly. Because I wasn’t overpaying for something that, at the same time, had lower performance.

I needed to be smarter with the cost. By moving to Cloudways, the server cost dropped like crazy. I can set up 10-13 clients on a $50 server at Cloudways. But with my previous service, the cost for this would be double.

Another important aspect of WordPress and custom website build is the option to have control of PHP settings, memory, and custom SMTP email sending. No need to ask for support via a ticket and wait for feedback.

Cloudways: Which cloud provider did you choose with Cloudways? And what do you think about the flexibility of choosing a cloud provider with Cloudways?

John: Mostly, I choose DigitalOcean for my customers. It’s a well-known server solution. I use Vultr for my own websites and projects. I’m not sure why. But I like their snappy, High-Frequency servers.

We also have clients who want to be on Google Cloud and have their own servers. It’s great to be able to select from the options of server providers. And especially with a great variation on server locations. For customers in Norway, I would spin up a server in Europe.

Let me finish off with a client success story:

My biggest client mentioned above was on the “premium” hosting. Not so successful. It was annoying, unfortunate, and embarrassing for me as well.

I moved them over to Cloudways, put them on their own Vultr HF server, and we set sail. I wanted to document the migration. And the result was surprising even for me!

After a few days, my client commented on how snappy and fast the website suddenly was. So I checked my monitoring.

We discovered the server response time from the previous hosting, compared to Cloudways, had dropped insanely! And without ANY CDN active.


Previous Hosting: Server Response Time


Cloudways Vultr HF: Server Response Time

So yes, I’m very happy with my transition to the Cloudways family. And I am super-happy to have done this now that we are expanding. With my two buddies from the U.S, building WPAlchemy.io.

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