Can I keep the same hosting company?
Absolutely. We do not provide web hosting and we are not wedded to any given hosting provider, so we have no vested interest in recommending one provider over another.
As long as your current hosts can provide you with a secure hosting environment, good and timely support when it’s needed and ideally management services like regular patching and back-ups then we are happy to work with them.
Do you work with other agencies?
We work in many ways with our clients. Sometimes we work directly with in-house development teams, marketing teams or business owners, where they ask us to work alongside their own in-house teams or other agency suppliers. Other times we are procured directly by another agency to work on their client’s app. We are very flexible in how we work and are used to acting as part of an extended team.
What does support and maintenance include?
Support is you being able to get in touch when you have a problem. It provides you a fast-track service for the initial investigation of issues. All clients on a support contract get a separate priority support email address so that we can quickly investigate your issues. We even include a few hours each month to cover some communication and investigation time. Upon identification and investigation of an issue, if it is found that additional work is required to address
Maintenance is us looking after your application and ensuring that it stays up to date and as secure as possible. We ensure your system is current and risk-free by monitoring code bases and aligning it with the latest third-party updates. Just like you would service your car or carry out essential maintenance on your house to avoid longer-term issues, website maintenance ensures that your website remains an asset and doesn’t turn into a liability.
Do you offer one-off projects?
Yes, we handle one-off projects, whether that be a new app or taking over an existing PHP application, although it’s rare that we are not asked to have some involvement after the project is deployed.
How does billing work?
We will discuss a billing framework with you and confirm as part of any Letter of Engagement. For ongoing retainers, we tend to bill monthly in arrears on the last day of the month. We only ever bill for the time spent. If we are working on a project basis, we will likely ask for 50% on appointment and 50% on completion. If the project lasts longer than two months, we’ll likely split the final payment into two payments. Our payment terms are 14 days. We are always open to other scenarios and will happily discuss at the outset stage.
What is the minimum commitment you need from a client?
Whilst it can depend upon the situation and the type of work, our standard minimum commitment is a custom PHP development plan of 10 days per month for twelve months or around 100 days for a one-off project.
What is onboarding?
As a new client, you will go through our standard on-boarding process. The output will be a code audit and security vulnerability report and reconfiguration of your site to a portable easier to manage version. Specifically, we will…
Security assessment Checks that your current coding and framework follows best practice and isn’t wide open to hacks.
Server insights We look at the server operating system version to check that it’s up to date and secure as possible.
Database assessment risk We explore your code, making sure it’s protected against vulnerability to SQL injection.
Optmising website speed We’ll check how busy your site is and if your server can handle it. If you need to re-look at your infrastructure to match demand, we’ll let you know.
Development workflows We look at your version control, test server and assess whether your deployments are automated or manual, to tell if they are inefficient and prone to error.
Email performance We explore how your system sends emails and run tests to reduce the risk of you becoming spam blacklisted.
Portability We make your website portable so that it follows best practices and can easily be moved between servers. Read more about why this is essential for your business.
My web developers and designers are great but they’re not comfortable with servers or more complex web applications
We can consult on your server set-up, make improvements or help you design improved infrastructure. This will leave your trusted suppliers or internal team to focus on their core strengths. The same goes for web application development or maintenance. We can work on the behind-the-scenes stuff and leave your team to work on the rest. We work well with our peers in the industry and understand that at times sensitivity is essential. This won’t be a witch hunt, and we’re not threatening to take work away from them.
I hired a developer to do some work, but I’m not happy with the results
We’re happy to validate work already done by either your internal team or external developers. Whether this means a full site-audit, fixing a few problems or giving you a quick second opinion, we can help.
We understand that in this situation sensitivity is critical. You might not want to rock the relationship, especially if the developer holds the keys. We can work quietly and carefully to give you an honest and unbiased assessment of the situation.
I need help now to get out of an emergency situation!
Maybe your site has been hacked, or a server has gone down and it’s not coming back up. Has your developer gone missing? So you’re unable to get urgent problems fixed. Or even worse, your project needs urgently rescuing so you can start to see a return on your development investment.
Don’t worry, we can help. Either working independently, or alongside your existing development team. We can help you get out of your situation and get things back on track with our Project Rescue offering.
Our hosting company is telling us that we need to move servers. Where do we start?
As with upgrading to the newest version of PHP, there are lots of reasons why you might want to consider having your application migrate to a new server. This is particularly true if it has been on that server for some years.
We strongly advocate ensuring that any PHP application is portable. By this we mean that it’s easy to get everything running. Even if it spans multiple servers on any suitable infrastructure. It then means that incoming developers can work on it for you with minimal fuss.
If you do need to move we can help you or your development team prepare for the move. Alternatively we can do the whole thing for you. This will minimise downtime and ensure that in the future the exercise will be straightforward.
We’re running a really old version of PHP. Is this a problem and should we upgrade?
If you’re running a business critical application on an old and unsupported version of PHP, in most cases upgrading to the newest version possible is essential.
In this context ‘unsupported’ means that PHP itself will no longer be getting security updates. In effect, this means that even if your server is fully patched and up-to-date, the version of PHP on your server can be a major security risk. Furthermore, known (public) weaknesses in the version you’re running could be used to gain access to the server.
As well as filling security holes, there are a number of direct benefits to running the newest version of PHP such as providing major speed improvements and making it much easier to maintain in the long term.
Our web application is running too slowly and it’s causing us real problems
There are a lots of factors that can conspire to slow any complex website down. It could be inefficient code, poor (or indeed over-zealous) database optimisation. Or it could simply be down to unanticipated spikes in traffic.
We can help you identify where these bottlenecks are and suggest solutions. If you don’t currently have a development team in place then we can also help you to remove the bottlenecks. In addition we can get you set up with performance monitoring software. This can then be used to flag up possible future problems or help you identify current ones.
What will we do if our web application goes down?
Disaster recovery planning (DRP) is an essential part of a web manager’s remit. To ensure that your business continues to function, it’s sensible to consider possible disaster scenarios and put mitigation systems in place to reduce or remove their impact.
We can help you put a DRP plan in place. Whether that be by doing the due-diligence for you and auditing what you currently have. Or maybe by helping you come up with likely scenarios. Alternatively, we can take the whole thing off your plate and delivering back to you a finished DRP.
Whenever we make changes to our website something breaks when we upload the changes
It sounds like you need a robust deployment and development platform. Whilst this can be a complex subject, put simply you need a way to build your platform and automatically deploy any changes to it, even if your application spans multiple servers.
This is something we have lots of experience with. We can help you in a variety of ways. From simply giving your development team some pointers and/or training. Or maybe we build you a fully automatic deployment system that will ensure that downtime is kept to a minimum. In addition, most importantly, should something go wrong you can roll back to the last stable known version.