Squarebird’s partnership with Cloudways enables massive growth

“I was blown away by Cloudways. Everything was so much easier. Things that were taking loads of time could be done in a couple of minutes. It’s been such a time saver, and in our business, time is money."
Nick Bird, Managing Partner

Started by two brothers in 2015, the digital agency Squarebird has grown into a team of 20, offering web design and digital marketing services to clients around the globe. Squarebird, located in Bristol, England, needed a hosting solution that delivered great performance for WordPress websites and was easy to use for non-technical users. Five years ago, they found the solution they were looking for with Cloudways, and they now have about 180 sites on the platform.

A rapidly growing business

In 2015, Nick Bird and his brother, Jon Bird, started developing websites for local businesses as a side job outside of their regular work.

“I was working in digital marketing, and my brother was a management consultant,” says Nick Bird. “We were picking up a few clients, and before we knew it we were going home from our jobs then staying up until three in the morning because we got so much work. We’ve built the business up from there, and we’ve grown completely organically since.”

Today, Squarebird has clients around the world covering a wide spectrum of industries, including universities, leading food and drink brands, and the engineering sector. In the early years of the business, Squarebird was using a few different hosting providers, but they all required developers with specialized skills to manage them.

“I’m not the most technical minded when it comes to managing servers, but we did have a couple of developers that knew their way around cPanel,” says Bird. “I always thought, what if the developers aren’t available when we need them, or we can’t get support? That’s a risk.”

Then a consultant suggested that Squarebird try Cloudways managed hosting.

“I was blown away by Cloudways. Everything was so much easier. Things that were taking loads of time could be done in a couple of minutes. It’s been such a time saver, and in our business, time is money. The difference was astronomical.”

Squarebird chose to use DigitalOcean servers managed through the Cloudways platform, since they were both cost effective and provided great performance, such as fast page loading. Previously the agency had used DigitalOcean servers directly, without Cloudways, but Bird found that Cloudways matched their business set up much better.

“Working with DigitalOcean directly was too complicated for what we needed to do,” Bird says. “When training junior staff members, there’s so much we have to teach them, let alone server management. Cloudways makes it much easier and efficient for us to manage hosting for our clients. The ease of use is massive—that we can just launch things on the fly is brilliant.”

Affordable, powerful hosting

As part of its web design services for clients, Squarebird provides hosting and website maintenance. Using Cloudways managed hosting has provided a source of recurring revenue for the agency.

“Part of the reason we win projects is that we can provide quality hosting for clients that doesn’t cost the earth,” Bird says. “A lot of our clients don’t want to know about the hosting setup, they’re just too busy, so we take care of that for them. With Cloudways, it’s easy to put in a few hours a month to make sure their hosting and everything else is up to date, which is a good source of repeat revenue for us.”

When issues do arise with client websites, Bird says that he can always rely on 24/7 support from Cloudways.

“The support element has been great,” he says. “I can sleep well at night knowing that I can always go on to Cloudways support and get an instant response. Even yesterday, there was an issue where a site was going down due to spam traffic, and after a couple of conversations with the Cloudways support team, they were able to go in and get things sorted for us, and that’s really key.”

As a Platinum-level member of the Cloudways Agency Partnership Program, Squarebird not only gets the standard 24/7 support available to all customers, the agency also gets a dedicated account manager, a private Slack channel, and priority support from senior engineers.

Server monitoring and scaling

Aside from hosting performance and support, Squarebird relies on Cloudways for a number of features that make their business more efficient and their clients happier. For example, with Cloudways the agency can easily monitor server usage for clients and scale servers up with just a couple of clicks. With Cloudways, there are also no overage charges for server usage.

“I think the Cloudways server monitoring is extremely good,” Bird says. “We have a few clients with event websites, where visits can go from two an hour to 2,000 a minute. With Cloudways, we can go in and scale the server up with a few clicks and have it ready in about five minutes, which is great. Cloudways also makes it easy to calculate and invoice clients for the additional bandwidth usage.”

Cloudways also makes it easy for Squarebird to create and renew SSL certificates, through Let’s Encrypt, without needing any technical skills. Squarebird also uses Cloudways for its development environments. This is both an affordable solution and minimizes risk, since people aren’t developing websites locally on laptops.

An intuitive platform

“For us as a digital agency, Cloudways has been absolutely invaluable,” Bird says. “If you have limited technical skills, or limited resources, there’s no comparison. Cloudways will be easier for you to understand, it’s just more intuitive, and there’s also documentation there for you to follow.”

Bird says the biggest benefit of using Cloudways has definitely been time saved.

“We’ve used Cloudways for over five years, so that adds up to a lot of time and money saved,” he says. “Cloudways is also helping us grow our business, since we’re adding more and more hosting clients every month. Just being able to confidently know that we’ve got a good hosting solution that we don’t need to question, that’s worth a lot.”

Squarebird

Industry

Digital Agency

HQ

U.K.

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