High-Performing PHP Cloud Hosting for Digital Agencies: Darkpony Use Case on Scaleforce

| November 29, 2018

There is a vast number of companies that need high-performing PHP hosting. Digital Agencies are not an exception. Business grows requiring more scaling, stability to withstand variable loads as well as simplicity and flexibility in infrastructure management, so standard VPS, or dedicated servers can no longer meet these needs.

Darkpony, Digital Agency from Greece, decided to solve this problem with the help of Jelastic PaaS on the infrastructure of Scaleforce. They successfully have migrated end customers applications from traditional VPS to the cloud, and today Yannis Elpidis, Managing Partner at Darkpony, shares the reasons and results of such decision.

Introduce your company

Darkpony Internet Services is an awarded 360 Digital Agency that was officially launched in 2009. We offer various services such as web design, e-commerce solutions, web development, and Internet marketing. Currently, we have more than 100 customers. Some of our projects include publishing platforms, large-scale eShops, custom solutions and high traffic/high volume data analytics for mobile games. We handled campaigns for Cypriot elections, TV One News, MTN Cyprus, Techgear.gr, Gaming Galaxy and many others.

What stacks do you use and how they are interconnected?

We use a variety of stacks, and the combinations differ per application environment. Our favorite stack is Apache/PHP, MySQL, Redis, and Storage container. We have also used clusters for some database intense applications. One of our latest projects is working on a Percona XtraDB Galera Cluster (see the whole topology below) which offers enormous stability, performance, and capacity.php projects

What were the reasons for choosing PHP hosting?

We mainly use PHP, and our framework of choice is the ever-popular Laravel. Most of our new workloads are running on PHP 7.2 and MySQL 5.7 or 8.x. We picked PHP back in the early 00s because of the active community and a large number of open source projects. We believe that for the Web, PHP is mature enough, and due to its popularity it is also easier to find capable developers.

What were the key reasons to migrate your applications on Jelastic PaaS?

We were looking for a flexible, reliable and secure hosting service. A service that will allow us to speed up testing and moving to production, as well as properly integrate with Git services and scale easily. It was a real pleasure when we first experienced Jelastic. We have been using Jelastic for the last 3 years and we believe it would be a real pain if, for some reason, we had to go back to our older setups with bare metal servers and classic-VPS environments.

What other hosting solutions did you previously use?

In the early days we used some small-sized VPS, then moved to unmanaged dedicated server hosting to cover our increasing needs in performance and scalability. Since the early days, we had the privilege to run high-traffic workloads of our customers and we experienced how difficult is to scale on older setups.

Jelastic is based on containers, did you face any problems while moving from VMs to containers?

The learning curve, even for a junior system administrator, is relatively low. Our hosting service provider Scaleforce offered fantastic support since day one and helped us with any questions we had. Overall it was an easy process, and the more we use the platform, the more excited we get!

Did you have to rewrite any parts of the application to decompose it to separate containers and interconnect them?

In most cases, no. We migrated both legacy and cutting-edge applications such as high volume traffic or data mining of huge datasets, and we did not face any problems at all. Legacy support is an amazing feature that allowed us to move older projects and have everything under one cloud hosting provider.

What was the cost difference?

Apparently, Jelastic PaaS offers a very competitive pricing model. The benefits are more evident for the workloads with load spikes that are difficult to predict, and with changeable traffic throughout the day. It does worth mentioning that the cost is not the only factor. By combining it with the high availability, performance, security, and flexibility in development, we increased our profit substantially.

What infrastructure provider do you use for running Jelastic PaaS and why?

Among cloud hosting providers on Jelastic, we chose Scaleforce as our sole partner. They offered us the right combination of performance, support (both in English and Greek) and pricing. Most of our clients are located in Europe, so Scaleforce presence in the UK is great in terms of network speed.

The collaboration with Scaleforce over the last three years allowed us to grow further as a business, without worrying about our SysAdmin needs.


As you see, Darkpony Digital Agency is already benefiting from running their applications at the scalable and high performing Jelastic PaaS on top of Scaleforce. What about you? Stop facing the limitations of traditional hosting and get started with the flexibility of PaaS for PHP available across the decentralized network of independent data center and hosting service providers worldwide.