Case Study – Academy of Art University
San Francisco, California, USA
UNIVERSITY CASE STUDY / Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University was founded in San Francisco in 1929. It is now the largest private art and design university in the USA. Their hands-on curriculum is taught by some of the finest minds working in today’s creative and innovative industries.
As a leader in art and design education, the university needed high quality hosting to support their eLearning and marketing website portfolio that act as the digital hub of the university.
We spoke with Charlie Jackson who is the university’s web manager to find out more about the university’s websites and their specific hosting requirements and why they chose to use Pressidium to host with.
What is your job role at Academy of Art University?
I’m the university’s web manager and am responsible for our entire portfolio of websites which includes a mix of both marketing sites that we use to promote the university and also some eLearning websites that are used to deliver certain course content.
How long have you hosted the university sites with Pressidium?
We have been with Pressidium for two years now. Prior to that point we had a variety of different hosts. It was a real mishmash and made life pretty complex as there was no central point for us to use to manage our hosting through.
Why did you decide to migrate the university sites to Pressidium?
As mentioned, we were using a number of different hosts for our portfolio of sites. Anyone who has managed multiple sites will understand the challenges that presents.
Which hosts did you consider in addition to Pressidium?
There were three hosts we seriously looked at, with Pressidium being one. The other two were WP Engine and Pantheon. We discounted Pantheon early on but did look closely at WP Engine. On the face of it their platform looked good but when we got down to costs it quickly became clear they were going to be more expensive that Pressidium for an equivalent plan. I think our quote for a similar hosting setup to Pressidium was nearly three times more money than Pressidium.
What were your key requirements in a WordPress host?
We needed an all-in-one platform that would allow us to easily manage the university’s website portfolio. The Pressidium Dashboard provides us with the control that we need to monitor all our sites quickly and easily.
The next requirement was the ability for the sites to handle some serious traffic. We get millions of visits to our sites each month and standard hosting was never going to cut it. The Enterprise Architecture that you guys operate really made a lot of sense and we could see the benefits this offers. As a university, we’re growing and we needed to be sure that our web host could keep up with this growth. The ability for us to scale the resources we need up or down really appealed.
Finally, we needed to know that we had access to high quality support to help if we had any issues. Uptime is important for our sites and it’s reassuring to know that your support team takes a proactive approach to helping us maintain our sites.
- All-in-one platform
- Scalability & Uptime
- High quality support
Were there any ‘must have’ items that you needed in a host and would have been a dealbreaker if they weren’t offered?
Well, the above for starters but a key requirement for me was that any managed WordPress host we chose was truly managed. I really don’t want to have to spend time thinking about hosting. I just want it to work! Pressidium has exceeded our expectations in this regard as it does just that. We never have any issues and it’s also great to know that our sites are being proactively managed at your end from a hosting perspective.
What is your favourite feature or part of our product that you use a lot and why?
We really like the staging feature and use this a lot. It’s great to be able to make changes to our sites on a staging server and then be able to push these changes live seamlessly at the click of a button. It gives us additional flexibility both to test new designs and concepts but also to control when certain updates go live (like the announcement of a new course). We use the dashboard a lot and I really like the support ticket function as this keeps track of all of the support tickets and their responses that have ever been submitted. I’ll often dive back into these to refresh my memory on how to do something that I’ve asked you before.
What’s your experience with our support?
It has been great. No complaints at all! Response times to tickets are seriously fast and it helps so much to be dealing with someone right from the get-go who clearly knows their way around hosting and WordPress. It means we get the answer we need quickly and efficiently which again lives up to my requirement that the hosting we use needs to be easy.
By using our product have you noticed any increases in revenue or growth?
It’s hard to directly tie any increase in revenue to a host but we have made significant SEO gains over the last year and speed plays an important role in SEO. Our sites have never loaded so fast so that’s a tick for Pressidium!
Have there been any standout ‘wow’ moments you’ve experienced since hosting with us?
I can’t put my finger on one particular moment but it’s fair to say that anytime we have needed your help, you’ve delivered. That in and of itself is unusual in the hosting industry so we’re pretty happy with that.
Would you recommend us to your peers?
There is only ever one host I recommend and that’s Pressidium! My experience with you has been flawless and I’m always happy to point people in your direction.