Two years ago, if you asked John Schulz what kept him up at night, he would’ve told you two things: performance and security. The Ample Innovation founder was spending countless hours managing VPS servers, security, and maintenance for his clients’ websites, not to mention having to drop everything at a moment’s notice when hosting would fail and a site would go down.
After years of dealing with inadequate shared, VPS, and even managed WordPress hosting companies, he was exhausted from the rollercoaster required to keep his business running smoothly. He knew there had to be another way.
So Schulz set about researching how he could build his own Docker container-powered hosting platform, one that he could eventually promote as a service for other agencies. Seeking advice, he reached out to a friend, Tom Fanelli, and quickly learned that Fanelli had not only had the same idea for high availability hosting, but had started pulling together a team and had bootstrapped an MVP, which would become Convesio.
“I couldn’t believe it. I told him right then and there that I was stopping all development and research on my own project and wanted to join forces with him and become a Convesio customer,” Schulz says. “I haven’t looked back.”
Here’s how Schulz has become an advisor to Convesio and how he was able to offload the performance, security and maintenance of his clients’ site, saving him several weeks of time annually.
Since 2013, Ample Innovation has provided world-class software solutions for real-world business problems. Specializing in custom WordPress, app, and enterprise-level software development, the company focuses on delivering well-designed, user interface-driven technologies centered around user experience best practices.
Schulz, a developer by trade, is also CTO at Ellipsis Technologies. The company is best known for developing Human Presence, a technology that employs human-centered learning algorithms to protect websites against suspicious activity, including form spam, fake account creation, and bot-based checkouts.
While Ample Innovation uses Convesio to host 40+ client websites, ranging from small ecommerce shops to brand awareness and brochure sites, Ellipsis Technologies uses Convesio to power its small blog.
From managing different VPS servers to patching security issues, troubleshooting downtime, and maintaining the dozens of WordPress sites on his books, Schulz was spending hours every week taking care of client websites.
For some of the larger sites Ample Innovation hosted, the performance was an issue, due to unreliable, traditional hosting platforms. But security was Schulz’s biggest concern as it was throwing up roadblocks for some of his clients.
“I would have to put in place measures — carry out security audits using expensive, overly-heavy footprint plugins, just to keep security issues at bay,” he says. “I became sick of settling for the hassle, inadequacy, and security-starved traditional shared hosting, VPS server hosting, and even WP specific host environments that kept failing me.”
Something needed to change. Ample Innovation needed secure, performant and highly available hosting for his clients that wouldn’t buckle under the pressure of sudden or unexpected traffic. He needed a hosting platform that was redundant, managed backups, and could quickly scale, all without costing a kidney.
After reconnecting with Fanelli, an old friend he hadn’t spoken to in a while, and discovering he had created the kind of unicorn hosting he had wanted to create himself, Schulz immediately switched all his client sites to Convesio.
“I couldn’t believe it. I told him right then and there that I was stopping all development and research on my own project and wanted to join forces with him and become a Convesio customer. I haven’t looked back,” Schulz says.
He says Fanelli had figured out several of the “toughies,” including database clustering and dockerized WordPress containers, plus all the benefits that go hand-in-hand with Convesio’s scalable hosting architecture: it was self-healing, performant, and delivered robust enough security in the initial offering that he could remove all the “silly” security plugins he had been paying annual subscriptions for.
“Even while developing the main proof of concept, Convesio was already showing so much promise and stability. It was head and shoulders better than anything I’d used on the market up to that point, including overpriced managed WordPress hosting,” Schulz says.
Convesio provides enterprise-level stability out of the box, which you don’t get anywhere else without paying a hefty premium. And the best part, says Schulz, is that every customer gets this by default.
“Convesio has chosen to take advantage of the latest advancements in containerized hosting technology and have figured out all of the hard things, making that the base offering, rather than trying to come up with some tricked-out NGINX configuration, highly-optimized server specs, or other things that come at a premium to the hosting provider,” says Schulz.
Other features that have allowed Schulz to offload most of his client site management including easy Let’s Encrypt SSL integration, simple domain mapping for multiple domains per site, built-in caching, the ability to modify PHP params, the ability to change PHP versions on the fly, and automated integrated backups.
What’s more, he says, Convesio is “blazing fast” and provides rock-solid security.
“The day I switched to Convesio, both of those problems went away and I’ve not thought about them since,” he says.
Since migrating all Ample Innovation’s client sites to Convesio, Schulz has saved hundreds of hours of his time annually. He says the time he’s been able to win back can’t be understated.
“I’d say Convesio saves me several weeks of maintenance and troubleshooting over the course of the year. That was the worst thing before switching to Convesio — you never know when an issue with a client site is going to arise,” he says.
“What used to cost me hours or even days, randomly, when there was a security or maintenance issue, now takes minutes. More importantly, there are just so many fewer issues to deal with.”
Schulz has been able to refocus his time on growing both Ample Innovation and Ellipsis Technologies. No more having to deal with unreliable traditional hosting, no more stressing over performance, and no more messing around with expensive security plugins.
“It’s so much easier to sleep at night knowing that Convesio’s technology is so much better than anything you get from traditional hosting,” he says.
“The uptime and reliability are stellar, but they are also really good at bouncing back quickly if there’s ever an incident. All this really comes down to the fact Convesio works differently compared to what yesterday’s hosting companies do.
“You don’t have to reboot just to get compute cycles back, free up memory, wipe temporary directories, or whatever other garbage it seemed like we always found ourselves listening to from other hosts.”
Schulz says he’s been particularly impressed with Convesio’s customer support team, who above and beyond, usually resolving issues before he even spots them himself.
“Arguably, the tech is the best part, but their customer support is a close second. If anything does go wrong or there’s a hiccup, the Convesio team’s got your back with proactive, integrated support via Slack,” he says.
“It doesn’t seem like they are ever really off. They are able to take support requests seriously morning, noon, or night. I’m always surprised and never disappointed. These guys are the real deal, a dream team.”
Convesio isn’t looking to be the next iteration of the current kind of hosting that holds the lion’s share of the market. Schulz says Fanelli has dreamed up what tomorrow’s hosting should be like, and productized what enterprise-level DevOps teams and Software Engineers are currently doing for SaaS companies and tech startups.
“You don’t have to go hire an AWS consultant, a few senior engineers, and set up and manage your own cluster to achieve enterprise-level hosting. You just sign up for Convesio and click the ‘New Site’ button and it’s a job well done,” he says.
In his role as an advisor, Schulz provides solid, real-world feedback as a friendly but active Convesio user. He is frequently called on to act as a sounding board and to provide his “two cents,” drawing from his own experiences to help project what successful outcomes for Convesio might look like with regard to user experience, performance, support, product relevance, and future feature enhancements.
“They really do want constructive criticism and honest feedback. Every once in a while I even get to help build some small piece of it,” he says.
“I’ve been on board almost since inception and will continue to be excited to see how Convesio grows. I am so proud of everything they’ve accomplished so far.
“I can’t imagine going back to life without Convesio as it pertains to hosting WordPress sites and genuinely believe they are the answer most WordPress agencies may or may not even know they are indirectly looking for.”
While some agencies are savvy and recognize the problems with today’s market leaders in hosting, he says others are just generally unsatisfied and would probably love to be less hands-on with managing client sites.
“My idea of a successful Convesio is to provide hosting that agencies and their customers don’t ever really have to think about because everything just works and it always feels right.”
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