Back to Blog

Customer Profile: Cactuslab

/ Case study
Karl von Randow and Matthew Buchanan founded Cactuslab back in 2001 and have grown it into one of New Zealand’s most well respected design, development and iOS studios. We spoke to Karl about his experiences with SiteHost over the last few years.
Cactuslab project examples on desktop and mobile.

What made you move your hosting to SiteHost a few years ago?

We came from a situation of colocating servers which we had done since 2001, but we got sick of managing them when there were problems or when hardware failed so we looked at other options.

We heard good things about SiteHost and had seen testimonials from people that we knew. I had also seen Quintin at a few events and it was clear that he knew what he was doing and cared about hosting.

Another factor was that when we spoke to other providers the barrier to entry was higher. With SiteHost we could be up and running in 10 minutes, that might even be understated, it was probably closer to 5 minutes.

It was simple and easy so those are the reasons I decided to go with SiteHost.

These days you have a few Virtual Dedicated Servers and Virtual Private Servers with us. Have these products solved any problems for you?

The main problem that has been solved is that if there is a problem with the hardware or environment I don’t need to wake up to deal with it. This used to be a significant point of stress for me and made it hard to go away on trips.

So I would say peace of mind is one of the biggest factors.

It’s also been nice to be able to migrate between servers reasonably easily. We have done some migrations from a VPS to a VDS and that was a pretty painless process.

I think it’s successful to say that I don’t have to think about my hosting with you, it just goes.

Do you use any other hosting providers and how would you say we compare?

As well as SiteHost we use Amazon and another bare metal provider in the US. Amazon is a bit of a different beast, it’s trickier to use and the learning curve is quite high, but the flexibility and eco-system allows us to do things such as build automation.

Within New Zealand we have only used one other provider. We have made enquiries for specific customer requests but the process always seems to be lengthy with meetings or other steps. Let’s just say SiteHost has done very well in the aspect of intelligent self service.

So what would you say your favourite aspect of SiteHost is?

I think it’s probably the level of support. I know that if something goes wrong with the environment you have people who can take care of it and I can talk to them. I feel a bit less that way about Amazon, obviously I know they have people there taking care of things but I wouldn't know how to reach them and I doubt they would want to hear from me.

I know when we were with Rackspace we had to contact them several times to get things done.

So I like the support, I like the simplicity of the offering and the amount of self service that we can do.

Would you recommend us to a friend? If so what would you say?

All of the above. They know what they are doing, you can set it up yourself and just get going.

Is there anything you’d like to see us do?

Being able to spin up servers for short term usage rather than a month and try something out could be really interesting, especially for kicking the tyres. I'm not sure how big the demand for that is in New Zealand though.

Good to know, that’s something we’re looking at. Any other feedback, comments, things we can improve on?

Nothing comes to mind, I think it’s successful to say that I don’t have to think about my hosting with you, it just goes.

See what the Cactuslab team's been making at