243 – A different way of doing hosting: Servebolt with Remkus de Vries

243 – A different way of doing hosting: Servebolt with Remkus de Vries

Interview with Remkus de Vries and Nathan Wrigley

If I got you to list out all of the things that you’d like your WordPress websites to be, I’m pretty sure that the word “fast” would be pretty close to the top of that list. It’s super important for your website to be fast; so that user can use it quickly, and enjoy it more, and so that the mighty Google will rank it higher in their results pages.

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Well, we all know that there’s a bunch of things that you can do to make your WordPress websites fast, and selecting good hosting it certainly one of them.

Remkus de Vries is on the podcast today to talk about Servebolt, which is a new(ish) hosting company that puts speed at the heart of every decision that they make. It’s really interesting how they’ve done things differently.

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In the podcast you’re going to find out that this is not merely lip service either. They’ve ripped up the manual of how to do hosting and started over, right back to the bespoke operating system (Servebolt Linux) that they’ve created to run on their servers.

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Many hosts will sell on the fact that they’ve added in X and Y to create a faster experience; Servebolt have gone the other way, they stripped things out to make it lean.

Their offering can be summed up with the following bullet list:

  • Faster TTFB – time to first byte
  • Faster Network Transfer
  • Faster Browser Rendering
  • Lightning fast processors
  • Lightning fast networking
  • Servebolt Linux
  • Optimized MariaDB and PHP

All of this stuff about speed might make you think that it’s all just words on their website. How could they really be all that much faster? I get it, and so do they, and they want you to test them at their word. They offer a free trial which gives you ample time to test it out and see if it lives up to all the hype.

Another topic that we stray into is how their offering is ‘greener‘ by design. Their infrastructure causes less data to be travelling over their network, meaning a reduction in energy consumed.

It’s managed hosting, but not WordPress managed hosting. They will take care of all-the-things in terms of the hosting of your website, and you’ll be taking care of the WordPress side of things, but fear not, they’re on hand if you need them with their support channels and Remkus knows a thing or two about WordPress!

If all of this sounds like it’s up your street, why not check out the pricing page and see what plan suits you best?

There’s a lot more in the podcast than in this post, so hit play and find out all about Servebolt.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Servebolt website

https://servebolt.com/pricing/

https://servebolt.com/how-to-migrate/

https://servebolt.com/articles/servebolt-on-sustainable-and-green-hosting/

https://servebolt.com/articles/how-to-test-website-speed-for-performance/

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group.

The WP Builds podcast is sponsored this week by…

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and

The WP Builds Deals Page

We thanks them for their support of WP Builds.

Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there and welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 243 entitled a different way of doing hosting serve bolt with Remco stories. It was published on Thursday, the 19th of August, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley. And as always a little bit of housekeeping, just to orientate you before the podcast begins, we have a website it's WP builds.com.

I'd really appreciate it. If you had it over there, there's a menu at the top, which you might like to familiarize yourself with. But one of the main things I want to point out is the subscribe page. It's WP builds.com forward slash subscribe. And if you go over there, you'll be able to find all the ways that we can keep in touch with you.

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You're going to find the best way to do that [email protected] forward slash advertise. Fill out the form and I will get back to you right away. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split test in record time? The new AB split test plugin for WordPress.

We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. So why not check it out? Get a free demo at AB split test doc.

Okie dokie. Let's get on with the main event. Shall we? This week, it's a podcast episode. It's an interview number 243 it's Remco stories talking all about serve bolt. The hosting company three works for you may or may not have heard of them. They're a new ish company in the WordPress space and in one word, It's all about speed.

They're trying to make your websites as fast as possible. And they've got a really interesting technology stack to enable that to happen, including basically ripping up the copy book and starting again with their own version of Linux. And it goes on from there. There's a whole boatload of different things that they've thrown in to their hosting package.

And rather than me trying to explain it, why don't we go to the podcast now and let REMCOs explain all about service. I hope that you enjoy it. Hello there and welcome to the WP builds podcast. Once more today, we have an interview and my interviewee is Remco . How you doing? REMCOs good. How are you? I'm good.

I figure I butchered your surname. There is, it varies.

[00:03:59] Remkus de Vries: So it depends, uh, the Dutch in general will say Defreece oh,

[00:04:03] Nathan Wrigley: I really butchered it. Okay.

[00:04:05] Remkus de Vries: But I will pronounce it as defease.

[00:04:07] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, I read. Okay. Whichever way you caught it. I didn't get it variable. Very right. But anyway, Rimkus is here today to talk about a subject, which is utterly awesome.

Essential in the WordPress space. It's all about hosting, not any old hosting, a accompany that has been working for they're in growth mode at the moment. Um, and it may be that having listened to this podcast, you want to go and check out their website. I get the feeling that in a few years time, this will be a company that will be hearing a lot more.

Of perhaps you've not heard of them before. So my encouraging words would be, if at any point during this podcast, you get the feeling that, hang on, let me go and check that out. Just pause it, hit pause, and go to serve bolt.com because the company is called serve bolt. They've been around. Rimkus tells me since 2015 and their mantra is basically encapsulated in one word.

And that word would be speed. Yes. Yeah. Okay. First question is every single company in the WordPress space who does hosting. And I know that that's not necessarily what you do. You do hosting, not necessarily WordPress hosting. Um, everybody says the same thing, right? They say we're fast. We're the fastest we can prove it.

We're really are fast. Look how fast we are. We've got all sorts of texts on our site to prove it. Give us the pitch. Tell us why you are indeed fast.

[00:05:35] Remkus de Vries: Um, the elevator pitch, huh? Yeah. So, um, I think it's, uh, it starts with defining what is fast. Um, and there are many ways to see and test, uh, any hosting to see whether they are fast or not.

Um, we say this, uh, but we have, um, so an independent party would be a good indicator of, of demonstrating how fast you are if they are testing in the right way. Um, WP, uh, Hosting review. Uh, I need to that new name is not cemented in my head just yet, but used to be refueled signals. Okay. Um, they do an annually, uh, test of all the hosts, um, and they measure in a various ways, um, like proper testing, like how you should test.

Um, and we always float on top. So, um, Um, I think that in itself should, um, essentially be, uh, the, the loudest, uh, thing to say, uh, to reference, um, WP hosting, review benchmarks. That's it. So, um, but, uh, to answer your question more properly, um, we have a hardcore and I do mean hardcore approach to performance and being able to repeat that performance over and over again.

Um, every single thing we do is in that, uh, in, is done in that vein. Uh, every single thing we add to our hosting stack needs to compete with how does this influence the performance of our, uh, of our hosting stack? And if it's negatively, we don't do it. Um, that means for instance, uh, to give a popular example, Um, new Relic, it's a monitoring tool.

You can install on the server level and you can make it available and then tells you what happens on your site in terms of performance. And you know, how long does the process take and things of that nature? Um, we're not adding it simply because the impact it has, um, uh, the resources it uses is just too high for it.

So that's a hardcore stance. There's other ways of measuring the same thing, which we will point you towards, but just to give you an idea of, you know, things we would do and things we won't do now, fast hosting for us means, um, we have full control of our entire stack. Um, that means we have a, uh, custom Linux distribution, which is, uh, working together with our custom PHS.

Which is working together with our custom Maria DB, which is a version of SQL databases. Uh, and the same goes for engine X and Apache and all the things that we use on our platform. Every single thing is highly optimized for performance and the ability to repeat that performance. Quickly by the, in other words, scalability.

Yeah.

[00:08:55] Nathan Wrigley: So it feels like if you've got a custom Linux distribution and you've got a custom PHP and, um, my C well, Maria DB stack you, would it be fair to say that you've, you've kind of removed things, right? You mentioned a minute ago, you know, we, we carefully think about what we're going to add in during the process.

2015. Has it been, has there been a, a desire to sort of strip things out of the, the, the iOS and the database? Yeah. So

[00:09:22] Remkus de Vries: everything we, you don't need, you don't include in, in, and we've done so far, our custom builds, but we've also made sure that. That, uh, Linux has an optimized way of communicating with PHP or the other way around, uh, all the layers are much more in tune with each other, uh, to perform essentially in the best way they can possibly do in harmony.

Um, and, um, referencing the, uh, the WP hosting benchmark reviews again, uh, there is one of the tests that they're doing is the PHP benchmark, which if you'll visit that site and you'll look us up, you'll see that we score way above anyone else, which is a Testament to why we're doing it and why we should continue to do.

Hmm,

[00:10:10] Nathan Wrigley: on the, on the side of the, in a sentence is briefly brushing over the, the software side of things. What about the hardware side of things? Um, in terms of, you know, what are the actual machines that this stuff is running on and where are they spread throughout the world? I know like a lot of your rivals there'll be CDNs to be talked about and so on, but just interested if you, you know, if you've got any specs around the hardware that you're using, um,

[00:10:34] Remkus de Vries: we don't.

Uh, for the simple reason is if you want to see how fast we are contest us. Um, we believe that, uh, throwing around specs is muddying the water, um, because it's not about just specs. It's about how efficient you can make use of what, what you're using. Um, one of the things we're not doing is we're not making use of Google cloud hosting.

We're not making use of Amazon, uh, hosting. We're not making use of. Interesting. And the reason for that is that we have our own cloud hosting, which is optimized in the same fashion. Um, it's allowing us to, uh, let me say that differently. Every single other cloud hosting, like the examples I just gave, they introduced by default something called lake.

And that is the time it takes for a request to go from one end to another end. So if it's a separate database server from the web server, it has a time to travel. So the more types of latencies you introduce and a typical cloud hosting does that you have no control over that. You have no real influence on how to optimize that because that's just.

Uh, the cloud, as you're being hint, as you are being handed, um, we have a different approach and, uh, we build our own, which does not introduce that latency, which is a large contributing factor into why. Uh, our scalability is much better. And, um, Allows for a lot more elasticity in our default setup.

[00:12:12] Nathan Wrigley: It's interesting.

You said, uh, we build our own, I was just curious as to whether that is literally, you know, you, there's a time of the year where the computers are in front of you and you are sliding and motherboards and all of that kind of

[00:12:25] Remkus de Vries: stuff. Not me personally, but yes we are. We are, we own our own hardware and actually configure it in the specific way that we know.

[00:12:35] Nathan Wrigley: That's a really interesting badge of honor as well, because often the, you know, the, the, the, the thing gets presented, you know, it's on the Google cloud and so on and so forth. It's

[00:12:46] Remkus de Vries: being presented as a, as a good thing. It's only good if, uh, if, if it is to solve things that you weren't previously solving, we're solving it.

The problem that it's being, trying to be solved. All the other cloud hostings, we're solving that with our own and we're doing it better.

[00:13:04] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So the website itself, as I mentioned earlier, serve bolt.com. Uh, you've got the, you know, the typical header at the top where you explained that you are very, very fast and so on, and there's a button where you can learn more about that.

Scrolling down about a fifth of the way down, something like that. There's a section with three different sub sections it's called learn why serve bolt is the fastest and you, you're going to three different elements of what it is that you guys believe. I'm sure there's more behind the scenes than just these three points, but do you want to just run by the, you know, the, the time to first byte file, a faster network transfer and faster browser rendering?

What are those and why are they key metrics that you've raised all else?

[00:13:43] Remkus de Vries: Um, So I think that that's sort of, uh, um, echoes on what I said before. Uh, those all have to do with some form of latency. So the time to first bite is essentially the time it takes for you to hit enter on your, whatever URL you've added or clicked on in your address bar in the browser, it then does a request to the server and then the server responds and you get presented, um, um, the, the front end of the site, the actual URL.

So the time that it takes for the server to respond is called time to first bite. Now the shorter you can make that. Uh, the bigger the impact is, uh, and that goes exponentially. Uh, the shorter, you can make that the bigger, the impact on performances and additionally, how easy it is to repeat that. So, uh, time, the first bite is a, is a great example of how fast is my hosting.

Right? Now, uh, one of the things you will, you will see online is that, um, uh, if you're between one and two seconds, uh, you got work to do so generally they will say you need to be below a second for the time, the first bite. Um, we say you should really need to be below five from the milliseconds. And in fact, if you, uh, if you test a sort of bolt.com, you'll see that we are way, way below that.

Hmm. And that's just because we optimize every single item that we mentioned a time. The first bite is obviously done by, uh, uh, on server level, but how you build your site when you load, what, how much of, what you need to load is actually there at the time that you actually needed all of that. Um, you know, from lazy load into different JavaScript, uh, having the right version of CSS for that particular view, all of those things we see as that's the way.

That's the base from where you start. Um, Okay.

[00:15:48] Nathan Wrigley: Um, moving on, you were talking about latency earlier about the, you know, if you're with a particular host, there may be component parts, all, all combining together. Um, and things need to be shot over here to get a request from over there to render over here and blah, blah, blah.

Um, and you, you have. Excuse me knew at the time of recording this it's it it'll have been around a while by the time this actually, as, because we're recording a few, certainly a few, couple of months before it's going to come out. But, um, yeah, this new ish feature I was going to say, but it's not really, I'm guessing that accelerated domains as it's called is just part of the core offering.

I don't know if it's actually an add on or what have you, but if it's an add on, okay. Do you want to explain what accelerated domain? Yeah.

[00:16:33] Remkus de Vries: Uh, sure. So, um, accelerate domains is a, uh, is an add on service for any hosting on the server world cloud, um, that allows you to accelerate performance, scalability, and security of your site.

And it does so in the most sustainable way, and sustainable does include, uh, the green hosting component. So we have essentially three layers that we've optimized fully. Um, so the, the, um, uh, the speed, uh, performance side of things, uh, affects things like your, uh, core web vitals. It affects your time, the first bite, uh, it affects the, the, uh, smart usage of a caching layer when you need it.

Um, The scalability is, I think we sort touched that we have our origin hosting taken care of, but, um, scalability, like I've said before, uh, amongst many things means that you're able to repeat what. Are, uh, processing as requests. So, uh, your server shouldn't go down for instance, when, um, you send out an email campaign to 30,000 people and they all click on that same minute or whatever that shouldn't bring a server.

Uh, so that's part of the scalability, for instance, uh, and the security is an enterprise security group, enterprise grade security layer that is included as well, which allows you to have, um, uh, so I don't know the exact number or percentage of, uh, unwanted traffic versus one to traffic. Out there on the internet, but I can assure you it's way bigger than you think.

Not having to process that on your site. If you're already are processing, I don't know, a couple of million, uh, uh, page views a month, that is obviously a huge reduction in, uh, how performance your site can be. So only service that what you need to service is a, is a good mantra in that direction. And our security layer in accelerator mains does exactly.

[00:18:50] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Um, okay, so just going back to the regular offerings. So we've got the accelerated domains, which is an add-on. And actually, if you, if you go to surf, bolt.com a forward slash solutions forward slash accelerated dash domains, you can find out more, but there's a link on the homepage that you can figure that out for yourself.

Going back to your, your sort of core offering. If you like your hosting curious that on the, on the website, I really got the impression, it clever language that it was like a WordPress specific thing. I kept seeing the word managed. And in my head I was substituting that for managed WordPress. And there, there probably are people listening to this who, you know, they use WordPress a bit curious about that, but they also are not WordPress.

And that, that is a differentiator in your sense as well, you can bring anything which will. Um, with

[00:19:40] Remkus de Vries: anything that needs a PHP and, uh, my SQL

[00:19:44] Nathan Wrigley: data. Okay. So it's not a specific solution for WordPress. Do you have any sort of custom stuff which you stick in on a WordPress site or is it just now? Okay.

[00:19:55] Remkus de Vries: No.

Yeah. So the only thing that we do have is our circled optimizer. Which, uh, you really want to run alongside your, uh, or inside your WordPress installation. Uh, um, it is your connection to the control panel. Uh, it helps you optimize a few things. Uh, it's just a smarter way of making use of it. Um, but to answer your question, uh, any application will do so, uh, uh, jeweler craft, CMS, uh, You name it, we can host it and I guarantee you, it will be faster.

[00:20:29] Nathan Wrigley: Right? Okay. Yeah. That's, that's

[00:20:31] Remkus de Vries: interesting. Um, but on the, uh, as a side note, uh, so we do specialize in WordPress and, uh, w uh, we'll commerce, um, because we are doing a few things that optimize your particular site. If you're out running WordPress,

[00:20:50] Nathan Wrigley: I think it's fair to say that you REM cars are a little bit of an expert when it comes to WordPress.

So you're in good hands. There are people,

[00:20:58] Remkus de Vries: um, me and my colleagues, uh, this is, uh, w we have a whole bunch of smart people doing really smart stuff. Um, that is, I would say a little bit out of the normal way of how most host companies hosting companies work. So, uh, And lastly, I, you said managed. Um, so we don't do managed WordPress.

We do managed, uh, hosting. Yep. So we don't touch the application. Right. We, we, we believe that as your responsibility or at least that's how we look

[00:21:31] Nathan Wrigley: at it now. Yeah. Fair enough. Speaking of WordPress, though, on the, on some rival offerings, they, they have kind of things that they would like you not to bring along the, for example, they might have a, uh, sort of say, we prefer it if you didn't use this caching solution.

And so I'm just wondering if there's any of those things, which, which we may be able to jettison that. Take care of, you know, I'm thinking caching, plugins in particular, that we may be able to sort of get rid of if we come over to you.

[00:22:01] Remkus de Vries: Yes. You don't need caching plugins on our platform, period. Um, it will literally slow down your site.

It's

[00:22:08] Nathan Wrigley: so interesting that that's the case.

[00:22:11] Remkus de Vries: Yeah. So, um, I've, I've been a sort of old client before I was, uh, working at sort of bolt. And that was one of the weird things that, uh, was being explained to me as I was onboarded, uh, with my agency at the time. I'm like, how, how does that work? But once you start thinking about it actually makes sense.

So if you have a caching plugin, it creates an HTML version of your page on server, um, and a request needs to hit the application layer. WordPress first. Before it can then approach the plugin that takes care of their caching before then the plugin can tell. If through whatever mechanism it uses to tell, you know, for this WordPress URL, just use that particular cached version of the, uh, request, which is a few more steps than solving it on server level, which we offer.

We have a, um, uh, an HTML cash solution, but we do it on server level and it's being handled before it touches the application later. So if you introduce caching, um, yeah, there's no real, there's no real point in doing so. That's interesting. And, and in the same vein, we don't think security plugins should live in WordPress.

You're free to do so. Uh, but it's not the layer where you want to solve things. You want to solve it before it actually hits your server because the same logic applies. Not only does the application need to load the plugin needs to load and then needs to determine whether the action that is being requested is valid or not.

That's a whole bunch of extra steps that you don't need. So solve that elsewhere. Um, at the very least CloudFlare pro uh, is the thing that to consider, but, uh, accelerated domains is the, is the best solution there. Um, and with regards to plugins in general, So most plugins will fly on our platform. Um, there are still plugins that just are not smart because of how they're built.

Uh, but we don't have a banned list as such. There's a few things that we would say you may want to reconsider why you're using this plugin. Um, simple examples could be on WooCommerce. We see those wishlist right. Um, what some of those plugins do is they set a cookie. As soon as you hit the site, it then tracks everything you do.

But because the cookie is set, nothing is cashed because that's what a cookie does. It invalidates your cash. So if you're looking for performance and you are already struggling for whatever reason, don't add that because that will invalidate every single optimizing layer you will implement. So it's more of those things that we, uh, we, we try to educate our clients as much as possible to understand the consequences of certain choices.

[00:25:06] Nathan Wrigley: It's curious that you were a customer and then became a part of the team. And you, you mentioned that you obviously. Very satisfied with the way it all worked out. Um, but you mentioned that there was like this onboarding process when you, for example, were informed that actually don't bring that caching plugin along for the ride.

I'm just interested in, should somebody at this point be thinking, I want to check this out. I want to see what's going on here. Do you, do you guide people through that process? Do you explain to them, so as an example, that the whole WooCommerce thing that you just said on the caching thing, it's it it's counter-intuitive because we've been taught that.

Over and over again, do you, do you have sort of guidance and advice at the point of being onboarded to, to instruct us what not to do and what new paradigms we might need to be thinking about because of the way you've got everything set up.

[00:25:52] Remkus de Vries: So, um, yeah, sure. Um, so we offer free trials and those free trials essentially, uh, mean that you have 60 days.

Uh, from the moment you create an account, you can create a, uh, a free test bolt. We call them bolts because that's our, uh, um, um, container word for how our hosting solution works. It's not the same as a VPs. It's not the same as dedicated. It's not the same as shared. It's just a different concept. Um, we explained that on our site, if you want to, if you're curious about that.

Yeah. Right

[00:26:26] Nathan Wrigley: at the bottom of the homepage, there's a, there's a little, not quite right at the point, very near the bottom of the homepage. Yeah.

[00:26:32] Remkus de Vries: But, um, you can then ask us to migrate your site. Nice. Uh, we will set up a test site for you and we will, uh, we'll show you, uh, by pointing you to certain articles we've written and published on our site.

Uh, how to test what to test for, uh, and what tools to use, because there's also a big difference in the various tools that you use. Um, once you've done that, you can compare your life site, which is usually the cache of your life site versus our uncashed site. And, uh, uh, Let's just say that the vast majority sees a, uh, quite a bit of difference in our favor.

[00:27:17] Nathan Wrigley: Interesting. So you are, because I know what people are going to be thinking. They're just going to be, eh, it's another hosting platform with some unique, unique, funny fangled way of setting things up. And they're baffling me with language. Clever clever systems that they've got set up, but I don't understand, prove it to me.

So you would stand by that. You have a, you have a methodology, you have a way that you can say, look, there's the old one. There's the new one, go check it out for yourself. And you encourage people to do that. Nice. In

[00:27:46] Remkus de Vries: fact, that is our way of converting. We don't advertise. We only see people, uh, come to us by word of mouth.

Um, or someone wrote something about us or, or any of the, you know, something like that. Um, but we don't do anything. Heart cell. Um, we let the, we, we let the raw performance speak for itself.

[00:28:11] Nathan Wrigley: The process for that is it literally as you've just, just described, setting up the setting up the, um, what did you say 60 days?

Was it 60 days? That's very cool. That's a long time. You've got plenty of time to see if anything's working. Yeah, but that's, that's not typical. I think that's quite, that's quite. Yeah. So 60

[00:28:29] Remkus de Vries: days to set up everything, test everything properly. We'll help you onboard. Um, we help you with any of your questions that you have as you onboard.

Uh, we, we actively look into how we can help you and facilitate the quest that you're on. Uh, and essentially just make it a pleasant experience for you and the, the problem you're trying to solve. So, yeah.

[00:28:55] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, no, that's nice. And then hopefully you'll be able to come out with some metrics and say, look.

This is now, which of course neatly segues us onto the, uh, the pricing of the, the, the whole offering. Now the pricing is a little bit different. Um, I could explain it, but I think you'll probably do it better pricing page though, is, uh, as you might expect, sort of bolt.com forward slash pricing, and you're going to see five different tiers.

Maybe there's more, oh, there is there's enterprise scroll below there, but you start. At $99, which at first sight, people are gonna think actually that's different. That is that's a bit higher than where they were accustomed to. So explain, explain,

[00:29:40] Remkus de Vries: explain. Uh, so the, um, we essentially have, uh, three differentiators.

In, um, the pricing, how we determine pricing, that is the, uh, the number of sites that are included in the plan. That is the storage. And that is the number of dynamic requests, which is a dynamic request. Uh, the TLDR version is essentially anything that a server needs to produce that is not cashed. Um, so that differentiates one plan from another, um, And you're right.

99 is not that, uh, the cheapest out there. Um, but it is the best out there. Um, and as you grow, so the 99 plan is called the pro plan, but, uh, when you're in the area of the business plus plan, which is for, uh, 4 49 us dollars, I think I'm looking at the euros myself. So I don't know that

[00:30:38] Nathan Wrigley: I've got here on my page.

[00:30:40] Remkus de Vries: Um, so by that time we start to be quite competitive, uh, compared to other hosts out there, uh, that start out lower, but the pricing is essentially, um, uh, built on the logic of, uh, the more you add to us, the more sites you add to our hosting platform, the cheaper it becomes per site. Uh, especially if you're an agency.

Uh, you know, you have, uh, 40 to 50 sites to add. Uh, we become a very, very competitive, uh, um, uh, hosting company to look at. And that's just from the pricing point of view, you are still having all the benefits of our, uh, fast hosting, um, which means from the, from the pro plan up until the enterprise plan, uh, we allow you to have full, uh, The fully optimized version of our hosting for all the plans.

Even the trials are full.

[00:31:42] Nathan Wrigley: It's interesting. The pricing is different because normally, I mean, we can see that there's a, there's a migration from three sites to five sites to seven sites and so on. That's typical. But, um, one of the curious things that I'm looking at here is the infinite symbol next to PHP workers.

And I've, I've run up against this problem, lots of times with some of your rivals before, and you, you literally infinite PHP work. Yeah.

[00:32:06] Remkus de Vries: Wow. We don't believe we should limit you and your site in any way, shape or form. So we have unlimited bandwidth. We have unlimited workers. Um, we have unlimited usage of Ram.

We do have PHP limit. Um, but that's the only normal. If you, if you write your PHP code in there in the right way, um, unlimited Ram will help. Um, allow you to process essentially all that you need to process. And then a good example is a WooCommerce site, right? Um, because it needs to do so much more upon checkout or adding to cart and then checkout and all of that.

Those are all uncashed. You can cache your site, but you cannot cash the check. So as soon as somebody has put something in their, uh, in their cart, you are uncashed. So when you're busy, when your site's busy, you want all of those processes to run through, you do not want to run out of memory. You do don't you do not want to hit any PHP worker limits.

So, um, and because we feel that that's not something we should limit you in any way, shape or form we offer, um, unmetered unlimited. Usage.

[00:33:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. They an interesting thing as well, which I hadn't really picked up on, but now I am. And you did say it is that the pro plan, the $99. So that's the sort of entry level one comes with three sites.

So split that three ways. It's more like 33 per site, which is an interesting way of thinking about it.

[00:33:39] Remkus de Vries: You look at that per site metric and you go up, you'll see it a, it goes down quite significantly.

[00:33:47] Nathan Wrigley: Yep. Yeah, it's nice. And there's a, there's a boatload of power in here. So it says, so for example, for four gigabytes of storage is on the pro plan and then it doubles and doubles and doubling just keeps doubling each time you go up the amount of doubles.

Yeah. But, um, I guess that you are keen to get a load of WordPress people on board, although you don't take care of the WordPress side of things, you feel that this is seriously well optimized for WordPress.

[00:34:11] Remkus de Vries: It is, it is. Yeah, we do it. We do a lot. We have done a lot of stuff to make the environment, uh, extremely work.

Um, sorry, for instance, there'll be PCI as a installed, uh, and made smart, so our serve more optimize their plugin also has a couple of things in there that allows you to, uh, uh, do what you may otherwise need to do on the, in, in a UI. You can do that with the, um, uh, with WPC commands. Um, and we try to, we try to offer you and, uh, and that's whether that's you as an end-user or you as a developer, we try to offer you the best, uh, um, tools to essentially get the job done.

We want to take care of hosting for you. We don't want you to have to worry about hosting.

[00:35:04] Nathan Wrigley: It probably for most of the people listening to this podcast, that's the exact thing they want to hear. I just want to give it to you, give you some money and stop worrying about it. Exactly.

[00:35:14] Remkus de Vries: That's what we're

[00:35:15] Nathan Wrigley: about.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So the other thing which I know is going to be asked if I don't ask it is how do you support this in terms of, if I am a customer. And I have queries. I have concerns something I need to adapt quickly. What's the deal? How do we contact you? What's the sort of, um,

[00:35:35] Remkus de Vries: so we have a support team, which, um, when you reach out to us via chat or email.

Okay. Um, we are ready to answer your questions. Uh, and the good thing is here. You don't get that first layer just to have a quick. You actually are talking to people who understand where as an application layer, as well as how it works along the server itself. And you get answers that actually help you.

Meaning if you have a question about, is it smart to use this plugin or should I, or should I not do this as it's being recommended here? Or, you know, things of that nature? One of the things, one of the funny questions I saw not too long ago was. Somebody said, uh, I read somewhere that I need to turn off my revisions, which is you see, as an optimizing performance hack all over the internet.

Um, and we said, uh, you know, we, as we, as we saw that question, our answer is, no, you don't, there's no need to do that. None whatsoever. Um, and they're like, but why is it everywhere I look for it? And then, you know, our answer is, but. If your database is crappy, if your hosting is crappy, that has an influence, but this is not crappy hosting.

So in other words, we're giving answers that are, may not entirely be exactly what you see, uh, printed everywhere, but it is the accurate answer and you are being helped into having a more performance site. That's what we're all about. So if

[00:37:17] Nathan Wrigley: you're happy, we're happy. Yo, so it's chat and email support, right?

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And unexpected consequences of all this kind of just pulled up this green hosting article. This is, this is our feel is going to become more of a thing in the, in the months and years to come. I feel like. You know, not only is the environment somewhat important, but everybody's going to be talking about, okay, prove it to me.

What, what is it that you're doing as a company to, um, to, to assist this? And so you've got this, uh, page bolt.com forward slash green dash hosting run us through this because you're obviously laying down a marker saying, we, we, we believe that we've got something here, which is good. Promote. I mean, you know, we're using electricity, there's no way around it, it that's, that's what we're doing, but we believe that we've got a greener option here.

[00:38:13] Remkus de Vries: We do. Um, so, um, if you look at green hosting and, or the, the, the, the, the broader container of sustainable, uh, going about your business, um, there is, uh, obviously the electricity part. That's, uh, that's a huge factor here. Um, We are, uh, every single resource that we're using is renewable energy. So essentially that starts with there.

And there's, there's plenty of more hosts that do the same thing. Um, so that doesn't necessarily set us up. Um, we also look at compensating, what we cannot compensate in a normal fashion with renewable energy, for instance, or if there is something that we can use a green electricity for, and we have to use gray or whatever, um, we actively go out and compensate that by ways of planting trees.

Um, but a very important factor that is overlooked by, uh, essentially anyone in the greenhouse slash sustainability corner is, are two components. One of them is whatever you're loading on that page needs to be in the most optimized version. So literally the amount of kilobytes or megabytes that you need to download, that needs to be a conscious part.

What you're offering on your website? The second part is the most important part is that the shorter your computing power is, um, uh, is being asked to produce something the more energy efficient it will be. So, and then we're back to our, um, uh, The time to first bite, that's essentially where it starts.

That's a great indicator of how short the processing time is. In other words, how little resources are you using? Um, And that means a lot. If you multiply that by the amount of sites we have and the amount of page views that the sites that we host have, and that, that second component is rarely touched.

Um, there are some sustainability, um, uh, efforts out there that are focusing on let's, you know, Make sure that we load in the most optimized version of what we need to load. So that's, you know, how do we reduce your kilobytes? Um, uh, and, and we facilitate that in the most extreme way with accelerated domains, um, especially with our add on for imagery size, which also optimizes your inner images beyond what it can,

but the, the number of requests. That a site has to process during the day. You want them all to be as short as possible. Cause that is true. Sustainability. That is looking at the entire energy expenditure and not just. Uh, where do I get my energy from?

[00:41:25] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That's really nice. Yeah. Obviously the less that your computer is doing and the more it's sitting idle the, uh, the, the better for the environment.

Yeah. That's fascinating. That's really interesting. Anyway, you can, you can find out that on the URL that I mentioned, I'll put it in the show notes as well. Um, I'm curious, another thing that I think people would. Obviously have, there'll be maybe thinking, well, I've not really heard about this company before.

I don't, I don't, I'm not inundated with adverts in my Facebook feed from them. Why should I, I mean, can I trust that they're going to be around in a few years' time? So just give us, give us some idea of the growth. You don't have to give us numbers, but give us, give us confidence that you're going to be around in a few years' time and, and that we can, we can put a site on you and hope, I guess from now we're still.

[00:42:12] Remkus de Vries: So serve bolt started in 2015 by it was then, uh, just a Norwegian company, uh, focused on a Norwegian market. It was called Alaska Cedar, which means fast pages. So the intent of what we want to deliver has been there from day. Um, we rebranded to serve bolt in, I think 2017. Um, I'm going to get called out if that's the right the wrong year by my colleagues very shortly.

No, I don't see any pains. So, but, uh, since 2017 we started on an international growth. So. Um, that in included in expanding in our cloud. So we are now in, uh, Oslo, Amsterdam, uh, London, Singapore, uh, South Africa and New York. So, uh, to facilitate that growth is why we started investing in our cloud in our circled cloud.

Um, we have transitioned from a startup to a scale up full, um, on the number of people working here have doubled in the last 18 months. Um, and if that's not a great indicator of what in it for the whole, I don't know

[00:43:25] Nathan Wrigley: what it is. Yeah. That's nice. That is really nice.

[00:43:28] Remkus de Vries: And we truly believe we're just at the cusp of a.

Um, the next great innovation on our site again. So we are extremely, uh, high focused on research and development and being innovative in the. And the right way. Not the, oh, look at, as being innovative. No, show

[00:43:49] Nathan Wrigley: it. Yeah. Okay. So there's, there's some exciting stuff that you can't reveal yet, which is download instantly?

No. Okay. Okay. Uh, we'll have to do this podcast again each year. You can tell me what's going on. The, um, just the eyeballs. You know, like you do, you go around the web and you click on websites. You just, how quick is that? I've just, I've just been loading pages on your website whilst you've been talking it's so fast, your website.

There's a, there's a little room. I click the button. There's the page. It is breathtakingly fast. It is astonishingly fast. So I'm deliberately picking pages that I haven't selected before so that I can be fairly sure that they are not in my cash or anything, really quite impressive stuff. Um, okay. So those of you that are curious.

Let's put it this way. You don't have to be dissatisfied with your current host to go and explore the new ones. You may be entirely satisfied, but w w what would you say to a client who, you know, or rather, what would your clients say to you? If you could move them over to hosting, and you could prove that they were actually on something which was quicker.

There's no way that they're going to be annoyed with you. So it may be time to have a little bit of a look, a little bit of a change around. And, uh, serv bolt.com might be the way to do it. REMCOs you can decline to answer this question if you like. Cause some people like to maintain a layer of privacy, but is there a, is there a way that people could reach out to you?

Um,

[00:45:22] Remkus de Vries: Sure. Find me on Twitter. Okay. That's probably the easiest

[00:45:26] Nathan Wrigley: way. Yeah. Paste Remco is his name from the title of this podcast and stick it into Twitter. There's

[00:45:31] Remkus de Vries: there's only one in the entire world with my first name. So you can't miss

[00:45:35] Nathan Wrigley: me. Really? Your names are unique. REMCOs oh, that's interesting. Okay.

Well serve bolt.com. I think we've given it a fair, a fair summation on today's podcast. REMCOs thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:45:49] Remkus de Vries: Thank you for having.

[00:45:51] Nathan Wrigley: Well, I hope that you enjoyed that really nice chatting to REMCOs today. All about serve bolt. Really interesting to understand exactly what it is that they do differently, and that they hope to be able to serve your website significantly faster than other offerings.

There are links in the show notes, if you would wish to go and check out, serve bolt and you can see their pricing. See exactly what it is that they offer. Serve. Bolt doc. The WPE build's podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split test in record time, then you AB split test plugin for WordPress.

We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with elements or, but you have a builder and the WordPress block editor, so you can check it out and get a free demo.

AB split tests. Dokie as this was an interview this week, I will be back next week. I'll be chatting with my good friend, David Walmsley about something to do with the eight is out of WordPress. Don't forget that we also do our Monday show. It's called this week in WordPress. It's live WP builds.com forward slash live 2:00 PM UK time.

And we repurpose that and send it out as a newsletter and podcast episode each Tuesday. So there's a lot coming up. I hope that we see you at some point during the next seven days, if not stay safe, I'm going to feed in some dreadful, cheesy music and say, bye bye for now.

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