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Established in 2006, DTF Digital offers comprehensive digital marketing solutions from its offices in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. As Director David Pratt puts it, they have a “perfectly formed team” that’s “small enough to care, but skilled enough to take on a variety of projects of all shapes and sizes.”
Boasting a knowledge and experience that lets them cater to clients across a range of services, DTF’s effective online marketing solutions for business growth have made it an award-winning digital marketing agency. It specializes in ecommerce (both Magento 2 and SaaS), responsive website design, bespoke applications and associated digital marketing solutions – everything from email marketing to pay-per-click advertising.
Of course, to reliably offer such a great breadth of services to an international clientele, it was necessary for the company to use above-par web hosting. DTF wanted to focus entirely on providing fantastic solutions to its clients, instead of dealing with hosting-related hassles. And as an agency specializing in Magento, it also needed a highly sophisticated platform that could readily handle Magento websites’ steep performance requirements.
So DTF decided it had to look into technically proficient web hosting providers with excellent support and server management. That’s when it came across Cloudways.
Cloudways: How did you first hear about Cloudways?
David: A new client was already using Cloudways for their hosting and was finding it to be a very reliable solution for their ecommerce website. We tested some of our own sites on the platform and were impressed with the results. The main issue we’ve had with other providers is support and server management. It’s nice to know that Cloudways can offer that to us as it takes away some of the headaches and focuses on what we do best – creating great digital marketing solutions for our customers.
Over the years we’ve used a variety of providers, from Fasthosts, 1&1, Heart Internet, to Webfusion. We’re still using some of these, but gradually moving much of our infrastructure over to Cloudways.
Cloudways: Why did you opt for Magento, when there are several great ecommerce platforms in the market?
David: We’ve worked with Magento since its initial release in 2007. Back then, we did freelance work for other agencies. Magento was the new kid in town and everyone was talking about it and wanting to become early adopters.
It’s been quite a steep learning curve, but we had the technical expertise to be able to use it. It is still in the top 3 ecommerce platforms globally, and is a real powerhouse. While we do work with other platforms such as Shopify, It’s difficult to compete with the out of the box features that Magento 2 has.
Cloudways: What thought/creative process you follow when creating a Magento store?
David: Like any design project, we take a whole raft of elements into consideration. From the client’s brand, to their likes/dislikes. We then use our expertise and UI/UX knowledge to create something that fits their requirements, but that also conforms to a standard in terms of what the typical website user would expect from their visit to an online shop.
Cloudways: What was your experience like with Cloudways when you first signed up?
David: It was a pretty smooth process. The platform is solid. Rolling out new servers and applications was straightforward. It immediately reduced the amount of time we had to spend on setting up the hosting space. As an agency we’ve got an account handler as well, who we can talk to about any concerns, feature requests or suggestions we might have.
Cloudways: In your opinion, what sets us apart from other hosting providers? How has our hosting stack for the Magento application made matters easier for you?
David: For us, it’s the simplicity of rolling out and managing our applications that makes Cloudways stand out. Magento 2 requires quite a complex setup with Elasticsearch and Varnish amongst other server components in order to run efficiently. Cloudways has this nailed down.
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Cloudways: How has Cloudways contributed to the success of your agency? Tell us about how Cloudways’ features align with your needs.
David: For a small agency, time is vitally precious. Cloudways enables us to spend more time on our clients’ success, rather than being bogged down in the hosting infrastructure. This means happier clients and stronger growth for our agency. The Cloudways platform gives us the tools we need to rapidly deploy a variety of applications onto a server setup that is optimised for said application. It’s a real game changer.
We’ve definitely been able to free up resources. Server problems can quickly consume a day, and that’s time you simply don’t get back. The extra time goes right back into helping our clients.
Cloudways: What are your thoughts on Cloudways caching and other server technologies (like Varnish, Elasticsearch or Redis)? How impactful they are for Magento 2.x applications?
David: The caching & server components on offer with Cloudways are great. They give us the ability to deploy a variety of apps safely in the knowledge that the right components are there to squeeze every last bit of performance out of them!
Magento 2 in particular is a powerful platform that needs server components that make the average hosting platform feel inadequate. In fact, recent versions of Magento 2 go as far to make it impossible to host a store without server technologies such as Elasticsearch. Having these components already set up and optimised when we create our app is a huge boon.
Cloudways: How do you use Cloudways to solve your client’s problems?
David: Our clients need a reliable hosting solution for their applications. Most of the applications we deploy are business critical, so any downtime costs both time and money for their organisation.
Simply put, Cloudways offer us the reliability and robustness our clients need.Copy to tweet
Cloudways: Out of five cloud providers available on Cloudways, which do you prefer to use and why?
David: At the moment we’re spreading applications across both Linode and Digital Ocean’s cloud network. We do this to mitigate the potential impact that network issues at either provider might cause. Both are proving to be reliable, and offer the performance we need at a reasonable price.
Cloudways: How do you resell Cloudways to your clients?
David: We are open with our customers about using your platform for the hosting we provide – to us it’s a selling point. We add on a percentage for our time to manage the space.
Cloudways: How has Cloudways helped in improving Magento store performance? Have you ever tried the Cloudways server scaling feature?
David: Cloudways has been helpful in improving Magento performance in a number of ways. Firstly, there’s the excellent caching and server features on offer. Then there’s the ease with which we can vertically scale our applications if necessary. The process of upscaling our servers is smooth.
Cloudways: How do you feel about being one of the founding members of the Cloudways Agency Partnership Program? What additional value does the program provide to you?
David: It’s an honour to be a founding member of the agency partnership program. As well as the direct benefits we get from it, we also have a voice in steering how the future of Cloudways will impact our business. We absolutely think that the program will help our business grow.
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