How Divio Transformed Social Schools’ SaaS Application Architecture

From Stressful Nights to Proactive High-Quality Support: A Case Study.

Digital website company Social Schools (now a part of Kidskonnect) was having difficulty aligning the performance of their multi-tenant application with the requirements of users. Working with Divio and leveraging our cloud solutions for the education sphere, they migrated to a bespoke cloud solution that meets these needs, as well as has built-in scaling features for future growth. Discover the full cloud case study for Social School in the story below.

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Top 4 Ways Divio Has Helped Social Schools



Managed by Divio for Social Schools



Running on 1 Single Codebase through Divio Mirrors


less time and effort

To create a new customer website



Average monthly cloud infrastructure

  • Social Schools engaged our expertise in cloud computing in education to address their critical architecture challenges effectively. They were in a familiar predicament faced by many organizations of having an application that outgrew its original architecture. Performance was suffering, which in turn was affecting the experience of their clients and increasing pressure on the team.

  • Who Are Social Schools?

    Social Schools is a Dutch SaaS company that builds communication platforms for schools and educational institutions, similar to social networks and websites. These platforms are used for school stakeholders (think students, parents, and teachers). Their functionality allows users to easily contact each other, such as receiving a timetable, calling in sick, planning meetings with parents, responding to permission requests, and more. 

    Vinit Kumar, the Staff Engineer at Social Schools, has specifically built monitoring tools and special systems unique to Social Schools on top of the Divio CLI or API. He has created an easy-to-use monitoring system for every single website Social Schools handles—which is thousands of websites.

  • A Look At Their Application and How It Was Built

    Social Schools’ application helps clients connect with a wide user base, with individual, private networks being set up for individual educational institutions. Social Schools’ multi-tenant, single application was built with djangoCMS and a single database. When it was originally developed, it was not built with the scaling capabilities Social Schools would need as its business grew.

  • The Problems: What Needed Solving?

    The database initially designed did not account for the scalability required as the company expanded. The main difficulty faced by Social Schools revolved around performance problems. Specifically, the sluggish speeds experienced by their applications. Social Schools offers a wide range of features and caters to numerous users. However, their growth in users was causing their application to perform more slowly. When one of their websites received excessive traffic, it had an impact on other websites. This resulted in Vinit spending more than six hours backing up and restoring the database, a very time-consuming task. And with a total of 2,000 domains spanning across hundreds of applications, these performance issues were becoming an increasing problem.

  • Issue 1: Rising Costs

    Due to the application's modest configuration, Social Schools found themselves in a tricky situation. They would need to invest in high-quality servers and databases to ensure optimal performance. The only way to avoid speed issues was to pay for a private server. However, this upgrade would come at a substantial cost that wasn’t on the table.

  • Issue 2: Support Needs

    Resolving support requests with the previous cloud provider Heroku was time-consuming and frustrating. Social Schools could only avoid this by upgrading to an expensive paid plan, which was not cost-effective. Vinit remembers multiple instances during his time with Heroku when downtime issues occurred after midnight, forcing him to interrupt his sleep to resolve service disruptions. The lack of support during these late hours was incredibly stressful and exhausting. Living in a different time zone made communication and assistance even more problematic.

  • Issue 3: Unexpected Downtime

    Social Schools had a shared infrastructure with Heroku, their previous cloud provider. As previously noted, a private server would be too expensive. The problem with shared tenancy is that Social School’s application could have downtime if another tenant’s availability went down because of issues on their end. And this happened, at one point for two hours total. This had a detrimental effect on both the customers and the team.

  • Issue 4: Team Size

    Social Schools’ team was just too small to migrate themselves and do everything on AWS without external support. This wasn’t an option from the get-go –if they had to go that route, they would have had to dedicate a considerable amount of development hours to configuring and sustaining the infrastructure themselves.

  • The Solution: How Did Divio Help?

    Divio’s expert cloud solutions in the education sector helped Social Schools by developing a new cloud infrastructure for their SaaS application to migrate to. We also built in features to future-proof it and allow for growth as Social Schools gained more customers.

    Here are six benefits that our solution brought:

  • Divio Solution 1: Simple Migration

    Social Schools were eager to emphasize the simplicity of transitioning to the Divio platform. The cloud migration was smooth, with Divio doing the heavy lifting. This made the whole process far more straightforward without causing bottlenecks that would need to be retroactively fixed. The Social Schools team also commented on the continuing proactive support from the Divio team post-migration.

    It took me somewhere around three months to move our whole infrastructure from zero code to Divio. The Divio team was very supportive and helpful in the initial transition period. It has been a great experience.

    Vinit Kumar
    Staff Engineer – Social Schools
  • Divio Solution 2: Mirrors Functionality

    Social Schools is now able to maintain over 2,800 domains for over 680 websites on a single code base with Divio’s web app mirroring functionality. It also helps distribute traffic coming from users accessing different platforms on the Social Schools applications. Another benefit is how much faster cloud database backups and restoration now take. All-in-all, what was once a complicated architecture has become far easier to manage and grow.

    With the Divio mirrors functionality, we can release application changes and upgrades to all our sites from a single code base with just a few clicks. This means we only need to maintain the core applications and can roll out changes across all sites 90% faster than without the Divio platform.

    Vinit Kumar
    Staff Engineer – Social Schools
  • Divio Solution 3: Easy Monitoring

    Divio's scan functionality has enabled Social Schools to monitor their applications and web pages much more easily. Not only has this meant that they can keep a closer eye on performance, both for the individual platforms and overall system, but means detecting problems, and resolving them, has become far quicker. Overall, the monitoring and troubleshooting process has been simplified, saving both time, money, and effort and providing a better service for their end users.

  • Divio Solution 4: Meeting Customer Needs

    Social Schools’ updated application was built using Divio CLI and API. Divio’s own toolkit and integrations offer an expansive range of capabilities, and one of the major benefits of this was that they are now able to meet specific customer needs. This may be a new scheduling tool, contact form, or so on. This level of customization means that Social Schools can now offer a more bespoke end product to their clients, meeting greater levels of customer satisfaction. This has the wider effect of fortifying a strong reputation for potential new clients.

  • Divio Solution 5: Improved Performance; from 2 hours to 10 minutes

    The new Social Schools application improved in speed, efficiency, and cost management via the implementation of effective API provisioning and automation. Previously the process of developing new client platforms took at least two hours. But now this has been drastically reduced to 10 minutes. Quite a significant difference! This means less pressure on the team, and the increased bandwidth to take on other tasks (and onboard new clients!).

  • Divio Solution 6: Data Security

    Social Schools' product stores a huge amount of sensitive data and private media assets for multiple organizations. As such, safeguarding this data is critical, as is their requirement of meeting GDPR standards. Social Schools required enhanced data security, achieved through Divio's cloud computing in education with private S3 buckets. All of their data continues to be protected by Divio’s robust web application security measures.

  • Results

    Social Schools have been demonstrably satisfied with their Divio solution. What once was a slow application that was struggling to meet user needs now delivers exceptional user experience, with the in-built functionality to grow with the SaaS company as new users are acquired. Working in collaboration, the new application means that Social Schools are able to keep up with demand whilst keeping overheads low.

    Looking back on the five years we've been using Divio, there haven't been any major incidents.

    Divio has been impressively proactive, which I appreciate. If something goes awry, I reach out to support and usually hear back that they've already identified and resolved the issue.

    I've never experienced a significant period of downtime. Divio’s historic cloud infrastructure uptime is in the 99.9999% range, which is astonishing. Our customers have also been very satisfied with the service we provide because of our efficient time management.

    Vinit Kumar
    Staff Engineer – Social Schools
  • Conclusion

    Our collaboration with Social Schools demonstrates how the foundational architecture of an application has far-reaching effects, from costs to efficiency, to user experience. Investing in a bespoke solution not only benefits the short term but will future-proof an application as a company scales over time. 

    Explore Divio's collaborations through our case studies, featuring stories on how we provided expert support and consultancy for Girl Effect as part of our cloud computing solutions for nonprofits.


If you’re in the market for a custom cloud solution for your apps, let's talk. We’d love to know how we can help out and make your product the very best it can be.

Divio’s historic cloud infrastructure uptime is in the 99.9999% range, which is astonishing.

Vinit Kumar
Staff Engineer – Social Schools