Hardbacon switched to Kinsta and saw a 63% drop in average site load time

Hardbacon's team of employees around a pingpong table

Summary

​​Hardbacon is a fintech company dedicated to helping Canadians make better financial decisions through a personal finance app and website featuring articles, financial calculators, and comparisons of financial products.

Hardbacon was founded in 2017. Their mission is to make finances more accessible and to convince Canadians that everyone can take care of their personal finances, whether they’re rich or not. At first, Hardbacon was an app aimed at self-directed investors, but soon they added additional functionality so that people could budget, make a financial plan, and even get credit card recommendations.

Read our interview with Julien Brault, co-founder and CEO of Hardbacon below.

The Problem

Frequent downtime and slow performance are detrimental to any online business, but especially in the highly competitive fintech space. Hardbacon needed a host that would support their business and not be the one to cause them problems.

“We started looking for a new host following several events that had come up due to poor server management. In a few cases, we experienced outages lasting several hours during which Hardbacon.ca was offline. The old hosting did not offer any monitoring solution and was impacted on several occasions by the failure of another service located on the same server. As the last outage occurred in the evening, we had difficulty reaching the owner of the accommodation business.

This event convinced us that we had to move Hardbacon.ca to a managed hosting solution, with automated tools (alerts, backups, etc.) and with customer service open 24 hours a day.

Loading speed was also an important stake for us, in particular, because of the importance of this factor in the referencing of search engines. We also wanted a host that offered an optimized loading speed. Before we moved our website to Kinsta, our average full website load time was around 8 seconds.

Being a tech company, we are used to testing everything before deploying. When it comes to WordPress websites, this is a less common and often more complicated practice. We were also looking for a host who could improve our test workflows.”

The Solution

Kinsta, powered by Google Cloud Platform, was an attractive company because of the performance advantages and the ability to choose a data center in Canada. Security perks like automatic backups, Kinsta’s Cloudflare integration, and SSH protocols were the icing on the cake.

“I didn’t know Kinsta when we started looking for a new host. The only managed hosting provider specializing in WordPress sites that I knew of was WP Engine, which was very heavily publicized at the time. By doing some research on Google, however, we found Kinsta, which not only offered a similar service at a lower price but also offered more performance.

The fact that Kinsta uses Google Cloud as the hosting infrastructure also contributed to our decision. Google’s private fiber-optic network gives it an advantage over other cloud-based hosting solutions and offers greater performance at a lower cost, savings that Kinsta passes on to its customers.

Something else that was very important to us was server location because of how it affects local SEO. In Canadian search results, websites hosted in Canada have an advantage over websites hosted abroad. So, .ca domains also have an SEO advantage, which is why we chose the domain name Hardbacon.ca over Hardbacon.com, even though we own both domain names. The fact that Kinsta allowed us to choose a data center located in Canada weighed in the balance, as it allowed us to work with a world leader in WordPress hosting, while still enjoying the benefits of local hosting.

Ultimately, as a fintech company, security is of the utmost importance. Hardbacon is behind a personal finance app that connects directly to its users’ bank accounts. Computer security and confidentiality have always been at the heart of our concerns. We have peace of mind knowing that Kinsta automates backups, gives security alerts on extensions as well as the necessary updates, and monitors disk space. Kinsta also helps prevent several types of common attacks with Cloudflare.

Another Kinsta security benefit is the ability to log in through Secure Shell (SSH) to perform administrative tasks on our files.”

The Results

Hardbacon’s loading time before the first interaction has been reduced to 1.6 seconds. After some customization, their app and website are now hosted in one place, and expert customer support is one click away.

“Once at Kinsta, the average load time immediately dropped to around 5 seconds. Subsequently, we installed the WordPress WP Rocket extension, which is compatible with the Kinsta hosting solution. Today, the load time has dropped to between 3 and 4 seconds, and the load time before the first interaction is 1.6 seconds, giving us a competitive advantage.

Another big advantage of using Kinsta is the fact that Kinsta manages the CDN for us, so as to decrease server response time in more remote locations.

The ability to host our web app in the same location as our WordPress site is a huge plus. Thanks to Kinsta’s support team, we were able to modify the configuration of the webserver so that our app works. This level of configuration customization is not, to my knowledge, common among managed WordPress hosting solutions.

Kinsta’s 24/7 support is greatly appreciated. Anytime we have a problem, we just have to log into our MyKinsta account and ask our questions via instant messaging. Not only did Kinsta technical support respond to us within seconds, but what impressed us were the technical skills of the support people at Kinsta. Rather than creating a ticket and getting back to us within 24 hours, they usually answer our most in-depth technical questions in real-time.

Finally, with Kinsta, we have access to a testing environment that is easy to use, and that allows us to avoid deploying updates without having tested them.”

 

Kinsta is our secret weapon. In a niche as competitive as ours, organic SEO is the crux of all the matter, and our website’s loading speed allows us to position ourselves at the top of the search results.
Julien Brault, CEO at
Hardbacon

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