How we helped a small Spanish digital agency overcome their lack of sysadmin skills

"I don't want to spend my days digging around documentation and raising support tickets, and so I wanted things to be very simple to manage."

Simon Kelly

In this customer story we interview Simon from the digital agency, Digital Happy, based in Barcelona Spain. This was a very interesting customer story from perspective of digital agency.


Can you describe your business and what you do?

So we’re Digital Happy and we’ve been running for about eight years now. Our core focus is on web design and development. So that’s everything from front end design, design, UI/UX etc. down to the coding, and then back end systems integration and custom application development when it’s required by the project. We can handle other stuff like branding and visual identity, but our core is web design development.


How large is your team?

We’re a small company, it’s essentially me and my partner. We work with a couple of freelancers as and when we need to, but essentially the core is us two. We worked together previously in a different company for a further seven years, so, together it’s been 15.

We’re a small team, but the benefit is that we’re very hands on. Everything that goes out the door is handled by us. Every line of code is down to us. We’re utterly responsible for everything that goes out and that’s kind of the way we like it. That’s kind of the way we like it at the moment.


What sort of clients do you have?

We have a reasonably diverse set of clients. We do a lot of work within the real estate sector as one of our biggest client is quite a big brand in the national Spanish real estate market and so as a result of that we get a lot of enquiries from companies that business area. But that aside we work with clients from many different business areas as well.


What’s your niche?

We’re a registered Spanish company but most of our clients are international clients who happen to have some connection with Barcelona. We kind of have a niche where we’re both English and English speaking, and so we do tend to service that market more, although Spanish and local clients are very welcome obviously, but mainly we focus on attracting international clients based around Barcelona. We do have some local Spanish clients, but they’re more the exception than the rule.


Do you work remote or at an office?

No we work out of an office. We’ve both got young families so working from home is absolutely not an option. It’s important that our clients can come and see us whenever they need to.

And yes, the reviews which I saw online seemed pretty good, as did the overall pricing.

What CMS do you love most?

We really like to work with one called Perch. It’s a lovely lovely system. It’s great from a designer developer point of view, because nothing appears in the code which isn’t put there by me. There are no constraints and no baggage to deal with. It responds perfectly to what I need it to do. And from a client point of view I find the editing experience is absolutely fantastic.

What we find a lot is that clients who have previously had experience with something like WordPress, and then as soon as they’re exposed to Perch they’re very impressed and very happy with it. They’ve never looked back.


Where were you hosted before EuroVPS?

Our previous hosting provider was based in the United States. And we were using that provider primarily because they offered Cold Fusion support, which was something we needed to support for one of our bigger clients. We we’re running Cold Fusion on basically one large project, but you know Cold Fusion, it’s not exactly the flavour of the month and most of our work is done using PHP.

Why did you switch to EuroVPS?

We did a bit of digging around and EuroVPS looked good. We liked the idea that you were based centrally, you know, a good central European location. The fact it’s coming out of Amsterdam, and most of our clients deal within Europe, so something centrally based seemed to make sense. And yes, the reviews which I saw online seemed pretty good, as did the overall pricing. So that was kind of our decision making process really.


How does our support help your day to day?

So to support Perch we needed something with good PHP support, but also it’s very important for us that support is there because we are not Sysadmins.

I don’t want to spend my days digging around documentation and raising support tickets, and so I wanted things to be very simple to manage.


Do you give your customers access to the hosting?

We don’t really handover full control to the clients. What we do is we set things up for them, but it’s quite rare that the end client themselves is actually logging in and doing anything on the server for example.

Most of our clients are quite happy for us to just set things up and then if an issue arises we can resolve that for them ourselves. And I find that that’s quite a good way to work.

The client doesn’t really have to worry about you logging into cPanel and facing the wall of jargon, (well what appears to them to be jargon). They know we’re fairly comfortable with that level of stuff, and so that’s an easier way for us to work.

I love the real time replies and that you just “fix things” without too much back and forth.

How does the price compared to your previous provider?

The price is less, actually. I think the problem with the other hosting was that because it’s Cold Fusion it’s quite a speciality, so I think they were charging a bit more for that. But I think the price of EuroVPS compared to other providers we were looking at seemed around about the same. But I think the most important key factor for us was a central European location, and the reviews that we found seemed to indicate it was a good option.


How did your latency change?

To be honest with you, we didn’t really move any sites over from, the sites we had on the US one were kind of like old archive projects that we kind of just sidelined them and let them die off really.

The ones which we have on EuroVPS, in terms of speed, we’re very happy with them. Performance is something that we pay a lot of attention to. So we’re very careful in our builds, from a back end point of view everything is optimised as much as we can possibly do. It’s a big thing for us that websites perform really well. And yes, in terms of the response times and everything we’re overall very happy.

We certainly haven’t had any complaints in the tests which I’ve done. We do some web page performance tests regularly and everything is always very fast. I’ve never seen any latency issues which would cause concern at all. Everything seems pretty spot on.


How do you feel about our support quality?

Support overall has been very good. I like the response time is good. I think overall I’ve raised about 10 tickets, and if I raise a ticket I know I’m going to get a response. I love the real time replies and that you just “fix things” without too much back and forth.

I really really love the live chat which compliments the ticket system. But you know I appreciate for you guys that’s a whole different ball game. The overheads with a live chat are probably a lot more.

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