TL; DR: Nimbus Hosting Founder Tim Dunton was still a teenager when he began hosting websites with a single server out of his parents’ study. Over the next two decades, Tim would hone his skills as a leader in the industry, turning that one machine into many to power web applications for site owners across the UK. In 2011, Tim started Nimbus Hosting in response to market demand for a hosting provider that specialised in hosting for the UK agency sector, providing a close working relationship, rather than simply a supplier. Today, agencies are turning to Nimbus for their highly rated customer support and brand-new hosting platform STORM that has been developed in-house, and is receiving rave reviews.
Nimbus Hosting Founder Tim Dunton knew early on technology would play a big role in his life. When many of his peers were busy playing computer games, 16-year-old Tim was busy dabbling in domain registration and teaching himself the technical aspects of web hosting.
This ultimately led Tim to buy his first server and set up shop in his parents’ study — a move that would put him on the path to founding one of the first web hosting companies that focus heavily on customer satisfaction.
“Before Nimbus, Tim ran Global Gold Hosting with a few core members of the Nimbus team,” said Chris Hutcheson, Nimbus Hosting’s Marketing Manager. “Eventually, though, Tim became disillusioned with what he saw as the standard offering to the market — there were a lot of hosting companies out there who did the same old stuff — so a decision was made to refocus and provide an alternative to customers who were beginning to demand more from their hosting providers.”
After leaving Global Gold, Tim started Nimbus Hosting in 2011 to address the common frustrations customers were experiencing from other providers in the industry. Chris told us that site owners were demanding more from their hosting providers, based around their specific needs, so the team at Nimbus — with their penchant for innovation — aimed to deliver exactly this type of service to their customers.
Avoiding the Hassle of Shared Hosting
Nimbus has always had a vision to surpass providers just offering shared hosting at bargain rates. Instead, Nimbus would focus on the niche market of digital agencies who were demanding a working partner rather than just a cheap way to host their websites. The company has worked tirelessly to provide just that to their clients, and the signs are positive, with year on year growth in what is a very competitive marketplace.
“We don’t do shared hosting, which is rather unusual for a hosting provider,” Chris said. “With shared, you compete on price, but we found that the level of support needed for shared customers was as high if not higher than VPS or dedicated, with an obvious lower income per client, so we made the decision to focus purely on VPS and dedicated servers.”
In addition to providing fast and reliable HP Enterprise servers, Nimbus provides a number of other related services, including SSL certificates and domain name registration. While seemingly basic, these additional services help to provide a complete solution to their agency clients, who require a single point of contact for all their hosting requirements.
“We’ve slimmed down our whole offering to make sure we’re focusing on the evolving needs of the digital agency sector,” Chris said. “We need to be able to react to changes quickly and provide the correct solutions for our customers, and not the industry standard dressed up as something it isn’t. This way of thinking is what led to the design and development of our brand-new hosting platform STORM.
STORM® — A Platform Built Around Speed and Simplicity
In the highly competitive world of hosting, Nimbus had to set itself apart from the competition in many ways. Aside from focusing on specific niche markets, the company launched its 100% Nimbus hosting platform STORM in 2017, to make it easier for their customers to manage their servers.
“We recently launched our brand-new hosting platform STORM, which took 2 years to develop,” Chris said. “What we have achieved, is to provide a brand-new approach to managing your servers, which is allowing our agency customers to work in a smarter way. Initial feedback has been very encouraging and the plans for new features going forward are really exciting.”
Keeping with the cloud theme, Nimbus decided to call its proprietary platform STORM — a fitting name for a hosting product centered on speed and performance.
STORM was built to address the common frustrations many Nimbus clients were having with the mainstream control panels, but it is much more than just a control panel. Designed as a platform, STORM is hosted on its own infrastructure within their secure UK datacenter, so does not use any of the valuable resources on your server, which on the smaller spec packages has resulted in site speed increasing.
Just as with every other aspect of Nimbus’s business model, Chris told us that STORM was not just going to be a copy of the other control panels, so the features that were implemented were carefully chosen, resulting in an intuitive interface that agencies are finding simple to use. STORM helps improve workflows with fast application installs, simplified team management, and one-click server control. The benefits are really appreciated when managing multiple servers, which can be on completely different accounts, but still managed from within a single login, eliminating the need to log in and out of various servers.
With STORM, users can reboot MySQL, PHP, Apache, or even the entire server with a single click, and have direct access to the server with SSH. Additionally, STORM features simplified PCI compliance and SSL certificate access — including free certificates provided by Let’s Encrypt. With a special focus on simplicity and speed, STORM empowers businesses with lightning-fast management capabilities.
Client Retention Through a Dedication to Quality
Along with its highly specialized servers and a brand-new approach to hosting, Nimbus takes great care when it comes to customer service. With a narrower market than most of its competitors, Nimbus enjoys a high rate of client retention.
“Customer service is a thing we have excelled at and focused on since day one,” Chris said. “It’s been interesting to look at our competitors and see how everyone boasts great customer service. It becomes difficult to project your niche and how you’re going to stand out from anybody else, but customer service is a lot of what we sell, and our customer reviews back this up.”
Not only does Nimbus handle support tickets through phone and email, but the company also provides clients with an extensive knowledgebase containing preliminary troubleshooting procedures and answers to common questions.
Chris attributes the company’s few customer departures to pricing conflicts, and businesses closing down. Backed by high-end servers, Nimbus’s packages represent a departure from the providers that only offer cheap, shared hosting plans.
“We tend to only lose clients because of price, and we just really didn’t want to get into that battle, we provide a premium service to our agency clients, and with the addition of STORM, we feel that Nimbus provides great value” Chris said. “I look at a lot of the top-10 articles and see they’re always driven by price and not so much by quality of service, which is a shame.”
While higher prices may drive some business away, the get-what-you-pay-for adage rings true with Nimbus — the company boasts more than 100 five-star Google reviews.
A Close-Knit Team With a Mission to Improve the Agency Experience
Nimbus’s personality shines through in its customer service and company culture. Just as Tim was once a passionate teenager with a vision, the Nimbus team is made up of technology enthusiasts who embrace innovation.
“There are a number of companies out there where you can only get a hold of their support team through a ticket,” Chris said. “We do have a very efficient ticket system, but if you need to speak to somebody, the option to pick up the phone and talk to the support team with no call waiting is available, and we are proud that many of our clients are on a first name basis with our team.”
The company’s tight-knit team has recently begun to focus on improving the webmaster experience through well-known platforms such as WordPress.
“We’ve gotten very involved with WordPress over here, and we actually support the WordPress Accessibility Team with their testing servers,” Chris said.
Looking to further expand its involvement in the WordPress community, Nimbus has helped sponsor multiple WordPress meetups throughout the UK and the various WordCamps held in the UK. Nimbus also plans to adopt other CMS platforms, including Craft, which has gained popularity in the UK in recent years.
Founded by a visionary and powered by techie culture, Nimbus Hosting stands out as a small but mighty provider in the UK market specializing to the agency sector. By focusing on quality — rather than simply quantity or price — Nimbus Hosting is realizing its mission is to provide the best possible service to a previously starving niche market.