We have got Edward Bull, Director of Magento ecommerce agency, Limesharp, to thank for offering his professional opinion about web host Cloudways. Edward reached out to us from London, where his company is based. We were pleased to interview him and better understand how he uses managed cloud hosting – and how Cloudways performs for a large agency such as his.
Hello and welcome, Edward. Could you please share information about your company and what you do?
Limesharp is a London-based ecommerce agency specialising in Magento design and build. We also offer hosting and support to our clients. We have been in business since 2006 servicing online retail and wholesale clients both big and small.
What made you first look into Cloudways hosting for your website and how did you hear about them?
We had been using Rackspace for all our hosting needs for several years. We decided to review our contract and see what else was available to us and give Cloud hosting a try. We were looking at Amazon and quickly realised we needed a company to add the layer of support we were used to with Rackspace that Amazon didn’t offer.
"We were looking at Amazon and quickly realised we needed a company to add the layer of support we were used to with Rackspace"
I looked into three companies just from research online and came across Cloudways, who were offering exactly what we needed. After a few conversations with Pere (CTO at Cloudways) we decided to give them a shot.
Cloudways offers a free trial period where you can give their hosting a comprehensive test run. Did you take advantage of that?
Yes, we tested out one of our websites before migrating our whole client base.
Cloudways provides a free migration service to move an existing site. Did you ask them to do that for any of your clients? How did the process go?
It was actually a combination of Limesharp and Cloudways working together on the migration. Due to the sheer number of websites and our knowledge of each site we felt Limesharp personnel were needed to be in on this process.
Cloudways offers only managed cloud hosting, but it is completely scalable. Which type of cloud hosting plan did you select?
Due to the varied needs of our clients, we requisitioned a completely custom shared environment setup, all on Amazon. We now use all of Cloudways’ cloud providers.
"We now use all of Cloudways’ cloud providers."
How easy was it to get used to managed cloud hosting as opposed to other, more traditional types of hosting plans?
Cloudways is great at managing this for us so we didn’t really need to worry. I think the main difference was figuring out capacity and resources as this is a different approach than physical, dedicated servers.
Are there specific features of Cloudways hosting that make it a good fit for Magento sites?
Varnish used to be massive for us because Magento is particularly slow. However, with PHP7 and other performance advancements that have come along since then, it is slightly less important, especially on low traffic websites. The ability to scale and clone sites ourselves and install SSL certificates gives us more control.
"The ability to scale and clone sites ourselves and install SSL certificates gives us more control."
What is one of your favorite features of Cloudways hosting?
The clone feature enables us to give third party developers their own application / access which we can manage and control without it effecting our own developers. It is also great when we need to debug an issue only occurring on the live environment.
Have you had a recent interaction with the support department? How did they respond?
We raise support tickets every day and there are no complaints from us. Every ticket is responded to quickly and professionally, even if it is something out of Cloudways’ offering.
"Every ticket is responded to quickly and professionally, even if it is something out of Cloudways’ offering."
Anything else you’d like to share about Cloudways or perhaps words of advice when it comes to switching over to cloud hosting?
Don’t underestimate the resources a Magento site needs just to run, even without traffic. Processes such as exports, saving products, etc. all have a big impact on CPU. This does, of course, depend on the Magento version being used; version 1.9, in particular, is a lot better at handling this. But you definitely need to choose a hosting plan that is capable of providing sufficient bandwidth and can be scaled appropriately, as necessary.
Thank you, Edward, for taking time from your busy schedule to respond to our interview request. Readers, if you have or need a Magento ecommerce site, we encourage you to check out the Limesharp website and blog.
To learn more about the host, see the full Cloudways review.