Duetsoft Profits Grow by 25% Using Plesk WordPress Toolkit & DigitalOcean

Duetsoft success story with Plesk and DigitalOcean - Plesk

Khandaker Ikrama, owner of Duetsoft web development agency, sheds light on how Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit helps his agency work effectively. Managing custom development and web design for WordPress on multiple customer websites. Read the story of Duetsoft, Plesk and DigitalOcean below.

Why we partnered with Plesk

Why Duetsoft partnered with Plesk

My agency began as a very small company two years ago. At that time, the agency’s ability to deliver services was wholly dependent on me and my skills. However, I soon made the decision to scale my business.

The problem was that all my customer’s had different site and maintenance priorities. And, unfortunately, I didn’t have a team large enough to cover all of their needs well. So I needed to find a reputable company to outsource all of these maintenance tasks.

Plesk came into the picture when I read a piece of content on WPMayor about How To Manage Multiple WordPress Sites Efficiently.

When I realized I could keep over a dozen websites simultaneously updated and supported with Plesk, I was relieved. Now I could put that extra time towards other activities – ones which might net the company a higher profit margin.

“Automation is a term I was familiar with - in this context it simply means having software or a tool that can perform a routine job automatically, without the need for constant input.”

Moreover, the fact that, with Plesk, I wouldn’t need to hire and manage a lot of freelancers was a bonus.

Duetsoft’s smooth transition to Plesk

Duetsoft's smooth transition into Plesk

“Plesk is super easy to install and configure on DigitalOcean in just a few clicks.”

Getting started with Plesk was as easy as 1-2-3: We used the Plesk One Click App from the DigitalOcean Marketplace. Then started with one website on DigitalOcean. The first test website went really well, and it just grew from there. The transition going forward was just as smooth as the test and startup phase.

I can honestly say that testing new plugins, features and design ideas is easy with the WordPress Toolkit Extension. You simply test everything in a sandbox before publishing live on the website. Furthermore, you don’t need any extra plugins or separate servers for this – the WordPress Toolkit in Plesk manages everything.

“The WordPress Toolkit is an agency dream, giving you an array of tools for customization, management, security, hosting, and automation for all your websites and the infrastructure they rely on.”

Overall, our partnership with Plesk has been one of honesty and transparency. And we always receive timely responses. This enables my agency to make sure our clients always have support on everything from basic requests to Remote Management or Smart Updates powered by AI from Plesk’s Extension Catalog.

Business benefits for Duetsoft

Business Benefits

The initial goal in using Plesk and the WordPress Toolkit was to automate and offload WordPress maintenance tasks. However, I got much more than I originally bargained for. There were three key areas in which Plesk helped my agency grow:

1. Revenues increased with more clients

‘’Since we started working with Plesk on DigitalOcean, revenue has increased - a lot!”

It wasn’t only about making various WordPress maintenance tasks easier and automating them as much as we could. But also about having the capacity to no longer turn clients away. Now, I can capture them all.

2. Profitability has gone up with investment in automation

The total amount of revenue coming in isn’t the only way I’m reaping the rewards either. Profit margins are much higher now, too. With the WordPress Toolkit, agency team members can now focus on tackling tasks that play to their strengths. It’s this investment in automation and task orchestration that’s made my operations run much more efficiently.

3. Greater functionality gave added value to customers

Since Plesk are WordPress specialists, and provide so many different features and functionality, I now feel as though my customers are truly taken care of. It’s this added value from features like Smart Updates powered by AI or Remote WordPress Management that has contributed to my agency’s growth.

Future goals for our Plesk partnership

Last year, a lot of our goals were based on basic financials. Now we want to move forward in 2019 (and beyond). We anticipate to continue to experience the same level of growth.

Khandaker Ikrama owner of Duetsoft Plesk

“My agency experienced a 25% increase in profitability”

I also hope to expand further on our value-added services. Managed services are becoming increasingly popular with businesses around the world. eCommerce, in particular, is an area that I hope to do more with, as it’s a particular niche with a lot of ongoing needs. However, I believe that my agency, in conjunction with Plesk managed services, can easily take care of them.

Managing WordPress for one website or thousands doesn’t have to be a chore. And it shouldn’t be something that holds your company back from scaling, or generating a solid profit margin either. If you want to give the best to both your customers and your agency, then you need to work with an infrastructure provider and partner you can rely on. Thankfully I found trusted partners in Plesk WordPress Toolkit and DigitalOcean.

About Duetsoft

About Duetsoft Plesk

Duetsoft is an intentionally small web development agency based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They focus on custom development and web design for WordPress, the CMS of choice for businesses of all sizes. Whether they are individuals, resellers, ISVs, SMBs, or enterprises.

How Plesk Brought Order to My Agency – Rise.co

How Plesk Brought Order to My Agency - Rise.co and Plesk

The success story of how Plesk helped Rise.co get aligned and serve their clients better than ever, as told by Kahl Orr.

One of the most challenging realities of scaling your business is being able to organize everything well. With more success comes more complexity I discovered – as the founder of web design and development startup, Rise.

I’m a web developer and entrepreneur, who developed a passion for coding and building websites when I was only in middle school. I’ve since turned that early love of web development into a thriving, digital startup that’s growing fast.

Rise.co is on track to breaking the half-million-dollar annual revenue mark this year alone. A true milestone that’s built on the back of designing and developing high-quality websites for a veritable army of very satisfied customers.

One thing is clear: I wouldn’t be where I am today without the capabilities of Plesk.

When Everything Was All Over the Place

When Everything was all over the place at Rise.co

As Rise.co expanded, it went from a solo operation, run just by me, to a team of 10 that I manage. Accounting for this growth was client work that became more demanding, with some clients owning dozens and dozens of websites. Due to this explosion of work, we outgrew our usual way of doing things.

We were hosting websites for our clients all over the place, under different hosting platforms. Managing them was difficult, and our processes weren’t able to be streamlined. When we needed to host about 100 websites for one client, we knew we needed a way to better organize things. That’s when we found Plesk.

A big reason for this disarray was our hosting solutions couldn’t support the magnitude of work we were taking on. I had that Aha! moment when I considered the hosting solutions we were providing clients with multiple websites. They were letting us down in terms of management, efficiency and ease of use.

That’s when I knew that we couldn’t support our breakneck growth if we stayed with our old website management habits. And so the search for a new and better hosting solution was underway. Luckily, I spoke to our team at Rackspace, who provides our IT support. They immediately recommended moving all our sites to a Plesk environment.

How Plesk Became a Game-Changer for Rise.co

Plesk Obsidian

With any new platform, there’s always a learning curve, but I found that Plesk’s platform allowed us to learn it without any friction. That’s really saying something when you consider how feature-rich Plesk is.

We were not used to being able to manage all websites in one place or being able to quickly and easily set up and manage WordPress installs. Once we learned the platform, however, we were able to build efficient processes for our team to manage, update and maintain bulk sites from one Plesk environment.

Rise.co moved to Plesk to help better serve our larger clients with numerous websites. Now, we can set a Plesk install for all our larger clients with many websites. We can easily set up WordPress, update and maintain sites, manage databases and PHP versions at per-site level. All within one Plesk account.

It’s made our web administration and development teams’ lives so much easier. After only working in this more efficient environment for a short time, I was already able to see the difference. Here’s what our results were:

  • More productivity from ease of use
  • Better site management
  • Increased efficiency and processes
  • The ability for our IT support (Rackspace) to easily step in and help when needed

Needless to say, because of these positive results, I envision a long-term partnership with Plesk.

How We Use Plesk Today

Using Plesk Obsidian today

Currently, things are running like clockwork on Plesk. I really appreciate how the platform enables us to showcase our design and development savvy to our clients without missing a beat. Plesk’s platform is our go-to solution in order to manage bulk websites for a single client.

We work with several franchise corporations that have more than 100 locations and websites. Plesk allows us to offer them our services for bulk websites with confidence. All the headaches of a disunited hosting setup are now a thing of the past.

If I had to narrow down all the benefits the platform has given us to just a few bullet points, they would be:

  • The capacity to manage bulk websites in one place
  • The ability to easily manage single databases and server settings at the per-site level
  • The reality that Rackspace supports your platform, which means we didn’t need to switch support teams (always a plus!)

Of course, the benefits of Plesk aren’t just contained to its platform. In other words, I’ve seen measurable gains in my business that correlate to when I started using Plesk.

What Rise.co Has Done Since Switching to Plesk

Rise.co since switching to Plesk

One of the best ways that I can think of to illustrate how a platform like Plesk empowers my agency is in the numbers and how it’s positively affected how I run it.

Year over year, my agency has already more than doubled its revenue. Such staggering growthcoming in such a short period of time—would not be possible without the streamlining of our hosting that Plesk has enabled.

The other side of the equation is what my life now looks like now. All thanks to the security of having such a better platform to serve our clients. These days, I can confidently transition into actually running my company as opposed to just working on our projects, like:

  • Growing my agency further by netting more clients
  • Delighting my existing client base
  • Leading my team to provide first-rate service to our customers

Plesk has been such a good fit with Rise that I really wish I’d discovered it sooner. The only thing I will advise anyone interested in using Plesk is to work with someone already experienced with Plesk. So that they can help get you up and running much quicker!

Rise Agency

Rise is a fast-growing web development agency, building high-end, custom websites and web and mobile apps for national brands.

6 essentials on Docker containers

Docker containers

Docker is one of the most successful open source projects in recent history, it’s fundamentally shifting the way people think about building, shipping and running applications. If you’re in the tech industry then the chances you’re already aware of the project. We’re going to look at 6 key points about Docker.

According to Alex Ellis, Docker Captain, Containers are disruptive and are changing the way we build and partition our applications in the cloud. Gone are monolithic systems and in come microservices, auto-scaling and self-healing infrastructure. Forget heavy-weight SOAP interfaces – REST APIs are the new lingua franca.

Whether you are wondering how Docker fits into your stack or are already leading the way – here are 6 essential facts that you and your team need to know about containers.

1. Containers are not VMs

Containers and virtual machines have similar resource isolation and allocation benefits – but a different architectural approach allows containers to be more portable and efficient. The main difference between containers and VMs is in their architectural approach.

Difference between containers and VMs

Virtual machines

VMs include the application, the necessary binaries, libraries, and an entire guest operating system — all of which can amount to tens of GBs. VMs run on top of a physical machine using a Hypervisor.  The hypervisors themselves run on physical computers, referred to as the “host machine”. The host machine is what provides the VM with resources, including RAM and CPU. These resources are divided among VMs.  So if one VM is running a more resource heavy application, more resources would be allocated to that one than to the other VMs running on the same host machine.

The VM that is running on the host machine is also often called a “guest machine.”

This guest machine contains both the application and whatever it needs to run that application (e.g. system binaries, libraries). It also carries an entire virtualized hardware stack of its own, including virtualized network adapters, storage, and CPU — which means it in turn has its own full-fledged guest operating system. From the inside, the guest machine behaves as its own unit with its own dedicated resources. From the outside, we know that it’s a VM — sharing resources provided by the host machine.

Containers

For all intents and purposes, containers look like a VM. The *key* is that the underlying architecture is fundamentally different between the containers and virtual machines. The big difference between containers and VMs is that containers *share* the host system’s kernel with other containers. The image above shows that containers package up just the user space, and not the kernel or virtual hardware like a VM does.

Each container gets its own isolated user space to allow multiple containers to run on a single host machine. All the operating system level architecture is being shared across containers.

The only parts that are created from scratch are the bins and libs – this is what makes containers so lightweight and portable. Virtual machines are built in the opposite direction. They start with a full operating system and, depending on the application, developers may or may not be able to strip out unwanted components.

  • Basically containers provide same functionality which provides by VMs, with out any hypervisor overhead
  • Containers are more light weight than VMs, since it shares kernel with host without hardware emulation (hypervisor)
  • Docker is not a virtualization technology, it’s an application delivery technology.
  • A container is “just” a process – literally a container is not “a thing”.
  • Containers use kernel features such as kernel namespaces, and control groups (cgroups)
  • Kernel namespaces provide basic isolation and CGroups use for resource allocation

Namespaces

  • Kernel namespaces provide basic isolation
  • It guarantee that each container cannot see or affect other containers
  • For an example, with namespaces you can have multiple processes with same PID in different environments (containers)
  • There are six types of namespaces available
  1. pid (processes)
  2. net (network interfaces, routing…)
  3. ipc (System V IPC)
  4. mnt (mount points, filesystems)
  5. uts (hostname)
  6. user (UIDs)

CGroups

  • CGroups(Control Groups) allocate resources and apply limits to the resources a process can take (memory, CPU, disk I/O)
    between containers
  • It ensure that each container gets its fair share of memory, CPU, disk I/O(resources),
  • Also It guarantee that single container not over consuming the resources

2. A Container (Process) can start up in one-twentieth of a second

Containers can be created much faster than virtual machines because VMs must retrieve 10-20 GBs of an operating system from storage. The workload in the container uses the host server’s operating system kernel, avoiding that step. According to Miles Ward, Google Cloud Platform’s Global Head of Solutions, a container (process) can start up in ~1/20th of a second compared to a minute or so for a modern VM. When development teams adopt Docker –  they add a new layer of agility, and productivitiy to the software development lifecycle.

Docker catalog

Image: Plesk Onyx

Having that speed right in place allows a development team to get project code activated, to test code in different ways, or to launch additional e-commerce capacity on its website –  all very quickly.
3. Containers have proven themselves on a massive scale
The world’s most innovative companies are adopting microservices architectures, where loosely coupled together services from applications. For example, you might have your Mongo database running in one container and your Redis server in another while your Node.js app is in another. With Docker, it’s become much more easier to link these containers together to create your application, making it easy-to-scale or update components independently in the future.

According to InformationWeek, another example is Google. Google Search is the world’s biggest implementer of containers, which the company uses for internal operations. In running Google Search operations, it uses containers by themselves, launching about 7,000 containers every second, which amounts to about 2 billion every week. The significance of containerization is that it is creating a standard definition and corresponding reference runtime that industry players will need to be able to move containers between different clouds (Google, AWS, Azure, DigitalOcean,…) which will allow applications and containers to become the portability layer going forward.
Docker helped create a group called the Open Container Initiative formed June 22nd 2015. The group exists to provide a standard format for container images and a specification for container runtimes. This helps avoid vendor lock-in and means your applications will be portable between many different cloud providers and hosts.
4. Containers are “lightweight”

As mentioned before, containers running on a single machine share the same operating system kernel – they start instantly and use less RAM. Docker for example has made it much easier for anyone — developers, sysadmins, and others — to take advantage of containers in order to quickly build and test portable applications. It allows anyone to package an application on their laptop, which in turn can run unmodified on any public cloud, private cloud, or even bare metal – the mantra is: “build once, run anywhere.”

Container architecture
5. Docker has become synonymous with containers
Docker is rapidly changing the rules of the cloud and upending the cloud technology landscape. Smoothing the way for microservices, open source collaboration, and DevOps. Docker is changing both the application development lifecycle and cloud engineering practices.

Stats:

  • 2B+ Docker Image Downloads
  • 2000+ contributors
  • 40K+ GitHub stars
  • 200K+ Dockerized apps
  • 240 Meetups in 70 countries
  • 95K Meetup members

Every day, lot’s of developers are happily testing or building new Docker-based apps with Plesk Onyx  – understanding where the Docker fire is spreading is the key to staying competitive in an ever-changing world.

Web Professionals understood that containers would be much more useful and portable if there was one way of creating them and moving them around, instead of having a proliferation of container formatting engines. Docker, at the moment, is that de facto standard.

They’re just like shipping containers, as Docker’s CEO Ben Golub likes to say. Every trucking firm, railroad, and marine shipyard knows how to pick up and move the standard shipping container. Docker containers are welcome the same way in a wide variety of computing environments.
6. Docker’s ambassadors: the Captains
Have you met the Docker Captains yet? There’s over 67 of them right now and they are spread all over the world. Captains are Docker ambassadors (not Docker employees) and their genuine *love* of all things Docker has a huge impact on the community.

That can be blogging, writing books, speaking, running workshops, creating tutorials and classes, offering support in forums, or organizing and contributing to local events.

Here, you find out on how you can follow all the Captains without having to navigate through over 67 web pages.

The Docker Community offers you the Docker basics, and lots of different ways to engage with other Docker enthusiasts who share a passion for virtual containers, microservices and distributed applications.

Got a cool Docker hack? Looking to organize, host or sponsor Docker meetups? Want to share your Docker story?

Get involved with the Docker Community here.
Docker basics

7. Alex Ellis – Docker Captain

I became a Docker Captain after being nominated by a Docker Inc. employee who had seen some of my training materials and activity in the community helping local developers in Peterborough to understand containers and how they fit into this shifting landscape of technology. The engergy and enthusiasm of Docker’s team was what lead me to start this journey on the Captains’programme.

It’s all about raising up new leaders in the community to advocate the benefits of containers for software engineering. We also write and speak about exciting new features in the Docker eco-system and  presence ourselves in conferences, meet-up groups and in the marketplace. Start my self-paced, Hands-On Docker tutorial here. If you have questions, or want to talk I’m on Twitter.

Thank you to Docker Captain Alex Ellis for co-authoring the introduction to this write-up and for providing feedback and technical insights on containers.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!

Cheers,
Jörg

Sources: Docker.com, Alex Ellis, Google Cloud Platform BlogInformationWeek, Freecodecamp

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