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CloudAtCost ignores clients. Gets spurned on Social Media

Fri, 18th July 2014, 13:05

A relatively recent newcomer to the cloud marketplace, Canadian hoster CloudAtCost looked to delineate itself from the others in the cloud crowd by marketing itself as different kind of provider.

What made Cloud At Cost so appealing was, unsurprisingly, their approach to discount developer hosting, offering a number of servers with limited (95%) uptime for dirt cheap prices- even giving purchasers the option to free themselves from monthly fees by buying the servers outright. As you can see in the pricing plans, Cloud At Cost made a compelling argument for non-mission-critical server space, if, and this is a big if, they manage to stick around long enough to make things worthwhile. 

CloudAtCost hosting plan prices 

There’s just one problem: Cloud At Cost’s servers seem to be imploding, and the company can’t seem to get them all working at once.

Now, one frustrated customer representing a slew of others has made waves in social media with a particularly on-point parody website: CloudAtACost.com. (editor's note... surprise surprise. CloudAtACost is hosted by.. [insert drum roll please] DreamHost). Of course, it’s worth it to discuss founder Nicholas Diotte’s experiences with the host’s support team (and 95% uptime guarantee) but maybe a taste of the site’s fan art will serve as an introduction.

CloudAtCost fan art

Hosting for Suckers.. Ouch.

So where’s the animosity coming from? Like the beleaguered Comcast customer unable to cancel his subscription, Diotte has a record of absurd encounters with Cloud At Cost’s support system, stemming from ‘extreme packet loss’ to his servers. Five days after filing a complaint, he received the all clear: problem should be gone.

And so was his server.

This outage began an almost three week process of back and forth between Diotte and his provider, most notably, without any official recognition of what in particular was going wrong with the servers, or when the problem would actually be fixed. The scope of the problem became clear on Cloud At Cost’s social media channels, which became clogged with users interrupting typical PR blasts to ask for much-needed updates on the status of their accounts.

After realizing what a nightmare the whole event was becoming, Cloud At Cost finally responded.

CloudAtCost responds to support issues 

Two thousand virtual machines to fix at up to 20 minutes a machine. Not a pretty backlog, to be sure. But that’s where we start to get into the potential how and why of Cloud At Cost’s uptime woes: excess provisioning. It’s a common story, one we recently covered for OVH, regarding their turnover blues. Hosting is growing rapaciously, and that leaves every provider with a head for business thinking of ways to slice out a larger piece of that market share. But hosting is a service-oriented business, and it’s no small task to plan for all the possibilities of expansion.

As of now, the problem remains unfixed, but the grumbling will likely subside when the backlog is burned through.

Cloud At Cost’s discount dev hosting is a story about intense conversion, clearly. But in retrospect, will it be a story of retention? Quite possibly! But not if Diotte’s experience becomes more than the exception.

And regardless of how Cloud At Cost turns out in the end, it should be a broader lesson for anyone seeking a webhost on the cheap. There’s a fantastic array of low-end providers available, and they have some pretty enticing price points. But look at a run of the mill provider with standard specifications and a decade of successful service. How much more are they going to charge you? Ten dollars a month? Thirty?

The question becomes less about ‘how much can I save on hosting’ and more about ‘how much is my time worth?’ If you lose, let’s say, ten hours a year on the headaches of bottom-end hosting, how much have you really saved in the end? Experiences like Diotte’s help us remember to watch out for the Cloud at (opportunity) cost.

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Coffitivity. Enough noise to work

Wed, 16th July 2014, 16:25

Some people need a quiet environment to work on their projects, others concentrate better in noisy spaces, such as coffee shops. It’s hard to understand how some individuals aren’t bothered by the café chatter or the sound of espresso machines when heating up and poring espresso shots. Actually, the science supports this and according to a study, 70 decibels of constant ambient sound, which is moderate, can stimulate creativity and people can focus better. Based on this study, some brilliant people came up with Coffitivity.com, which is a unique website that streams the ambient noises of coffee shops. The team consists of Justin Kauszler – Founder, Nicole Horton - Graphic Designer, Ace Callwood - Creative Director/Copy and Tommy Nicholas - Growth Hacker.

Ace Callwood was kind enough to answer some questions about Coffitivity and how this project was born and how it evolved.

HostJury: Coffitivity started not so long ago and you were inspired by some simple coffee shops. How come some people can concentrate on writing with all that fuss around them, and others prefer a quiet environment?

Ace: We find that the sounds of the coffee shop actually distract people which in turn makes them more creative. This is why those "AHA" moments tend to come to us while we're doing mindless tasks like brushing our teeth or shaving. What the science suggests is that we often focus TOO much on tasks and having a little bit of distraction (like coffee shop sounds) allows us to approach problems a little more creatively. Enter, Coffitivity.

HostJury: How long have you been working on this project? Were you afraid that your website won’t attract visitors and Coffitivity was a bad idea?

Ace: Coffitivity is just about a year and a half old. Initially we had no idea it would grow to be the site it is today. That said, we built Coffitivity as a learning experience and an opportunity to make a tool that we could use for ourselves. The intention was never a TON of traffic, so we're pleasantly surprised and more than happy with the outcome.

HostJury: How it’s like to see that all your work paid off and “because” of you, many people from all over the world can teleport themselves virtually in a coffee shop? Are you proud of the results?

Ace: It's still a little hard for us to digest how many people from different places use our site. It seems a little unreal to be honest. That said, we're thrilled with the results and are always working to make the experience better for our audience.

HostJury: Where does the name of “Coffitivity” really come from? Can coffees help people to be creative?

Ace: We combined the words "coffee" and "creativity" to form the word "Coffitivity". We think it's a great name for the site, especially give the science we refer to that says cafe sounds help creatives work better.

HostJury: Please tell our readers if it was difficult to put this idea in practice and what were the steps you took to reach your goal.

Ace: Every good idea has some level of difficulty to it. For us, we had no coding or web experience when we started, but Justin taught himself how to code and we built a website. Outside of the day to day behind learning code and getting better at designing, I'd say the biggest step in building the site was actually deciding to go. Once you get started on a really awesome project, it takes on a life of it's own. From there, the next big decision is to launch even though you think there are things to make better or redesign. That was tough for us.

HostJury: Were there any issues over time? Did you encounter any obstacles in your way?

Ace: Of course we had issues. As I mentioned, from the get go, there were hard decisions to make. Should we launch yet, is the site self explanatory, how do we get more audio? Those are all issues that face startups to some extent every day. I also think that's the fun of what we do in the startup world - every day is a new problem to solve. We start thinking about the little daily problems as puzzles to tackle. As a good team, we've gotten pretty good at solving the various puzzles.

HostJury: Did success change you in any way? Do you have regrets or you feel accomplished?

Ace: I think the "success" has been an experience none of us expected, and big experiences tend to change most people. For us, now we have people asking about the press and what it was like to build a big website. That's been interesting for the team, but at the end of the day, I think our biggest takeaway is that we're all capable of handling some of the day-to-day firefights that we've been faced with in the last year or so. It's a great feeling to know what one is capable of. Sure, we've done some things wrong and would maybe change some things here and there, but overall we're proud of what we've built and we're looking forward to the next adventures.

HostJury: What are your plans for the future?

Ace: The future of Coffitivity is exciting. We're not talking too much about it yet, but keep an eye out for some new audio, a new layout, and a few experiments that will hopefully make the experience of Coffitivity a little richer for our entire audience!

Coffitivity.com was hosted by HostGator prior to being transferred to Bluehost severs last September.

Bluehost.com Web Hosting $6.95

The Dead of Summer Deadpool

Mon, 14th July 2014, 11:52

It’s a fair midsummer’s day, and the heat is sweltering. Really makes you wish for a nice pool to hop into. But you should probably stay away from this one, especially if you need reliable hosting. June’s deadpool is fairly light, all things considered! This one goes out to the summer hosts that keep on keepin’ on through the summer heat: see you guys in the fall!

 

HostOnce

As in, once, they were a host. Not anymore! A whois lookup revealed an interesting detail- there’s a connection to xibig.com. Possibly the same company? Or maybe just the same lawyer. Alas, this mystery will probably never be solved.

 

DeluxeWebs

Since opening in 2011, brags their service description, DeluxeWebs has not stopped growing. Yeah, about that… Shame, considering the buzz around them was fairly positive! Perhaps it’s better to burn out than to fade away?

 

HostRazor

The cutting edge of hosting (see what I did there?) has a nick in the blade. Coming on the heels of an acquisition by Sago Networks, it’s pretty safe to assume that the staff of the former host have been diverted elsewhere. Hopefully their clients were forewarned!

 

ForzaHost

This brand unfortunately folded despite a stellar run, likely because its controls were a bit too complex and the market just wasn’t looking very bullish on realistic driving simulators. Wait, no, that’s the Forza videogame series. Our apologies, a HostJury research intern will be punished for this mistake.

 

ChallengeHost

Has the hosting game ever become so brutal that you just had to throw in the towel and become a fantasy football website? Well, you’re in good company. ChallengeHost is now just that. Which reminds us, HostJury is actually thinking about becoming a fansite for the German national football team. Deutschland vor! Noch ein tor!

 

DJAB Hosting

No one could have predicted that a service named after the noise you make when you accidentally touch a hot stove would’ve gone under. Absolutely no one. Thus, all they leave behind is a slew of bad press.

 

Effex Hosting

Okay, so read this description of Effex Hosting from their HJ profile page.

Effex Hosting have many years of leading experience with global businesses of all sizes and have built up an affluence of web hosting expertise that put down us a scratch above other web hosting companies in this time.
Isn’t it crazy when you can pinpoint the exact moment in a sentence when someone had a stroke? It would be irresponsible for us to assert that this is the exact reason Effex Hosting closed down, so we’ll just quietly imply it.

 

Invio Hosting

Chicago-based Invio Hosting disappeared without a peep last month, with nothing on the internet to memorialize them other than their non-rating from the BBB and their CEO’s tumblr account. So, reblog him enough and maybe you can find out where your hosting went.

 

HostApolis

When you google HostApolis, the search engine pauses to ask if you’ve lost your damned mind. “Did you mean Hostropolis?” it asks. “That’s a host that still exists.” Well, sure, but their website looks like it predates Web 2.0. “Perhaps you meant Ghostopolis? A graphic novel about a supernatural, ghost-wrangling police force?” Actually, wow. Yeah, that’s what we meant. Show us Ghostopolis.

 

HostsVault

Well, HostsVault is not quite dead, as in Monty Python parrot dead, but they’re on life support at best. It’s generally not a good sign when your webhost’s front page redirects to an empty index. Get your websites hosted somewhere else, people!

 

KESER HOSTING

KESER HOSTING is a leading provider in ALL-CAPS HOSTING OPPORTUNITIES for LOUD people of IMPORTANCE. KESER HOSTING’s UNFORTUNATE CLIENTS’ WEBSITES are also NOT GOING to SURVIVE the SUMMER. OH YEAH, BROTHER.

 

Jiffy Domains

Shortest lived of our current deadpool, Jiffy Domains has only been around for a year, setting them up perfectly for some kind of snarky comment about how they only lasted a jiffy. Seriously though, one year? Come on, show some heart.

Researching a web host for your baby. Choose wisely and read the webhost's reviews before you decide!

Arvixe wordpress hosting

Free Domain Names. The 'No Strings Attached' Deal and Steal!

Tue, 8th July 2014, 15:08

Optimal Hosting decided to do something a little out of the ordinary to celebrate the relaunch of their new website.. They are having a domain give away week. No Strings. No Catches. No Web Hosting required.

All you need to do is follow 3 simple steps to help spread the word and then claim up to 3 free domain names for the first year. Then if you’d like to keep the domains after the first year, just renew at the normal pricing. Simple yet brilliant.

Follow Optimal Hosting on Twitter: @optimalhosting then re-tweet the Tweet below to spread the word. You’ll then be redirected to a page to redeem!

Get a free domain by Following Optimal Hosting on Twitter and retweeting this tweet to spread the word. You’ll then be redirected to a page to redeem!

Want to know more.

Optimal Hosting was set up in 2012 by Robert Benwell with the sole purpose of providing a hosting platform tailored entirely for the customer, providing an around the clock 100% uptime platform with everything required for that all round personal service. Rob felt there was a lack of innovation and customer focus in the web hosting industry and that customers were not getting a good enough service. So he took the initiative to set up a service to simplify web hosting and to offer the best solutions possible.

Asked why they feel they are different, they responded

Unlike most web hosts, we own our hardware and network gear, operating from a top-tier data centre in the South of England. Our engineers consist of industry veterans who have worked with some of the largest Internet brands and businesses.

The cloud we operate is relied on daily by over 16,000 domains. Our customers expect nothing but stellar performance, lightning fast loading speeds and resiliency. We’ve cut no corners – the running of your website and business is paramount to us!

Current clients of Optimal Hosting can share their experiences with others by writing a review.

 

About
Optimal Hosting is a fast-growing startup providing cloud hosting, servers, domain names & other services since 2012. We're a friendly company operating from Shoreditch, East London with a 24 hour support team. We’ve grown rapidly – from a team of 3 to employing a team of over 20, some working from our offices in London with others based around the world.

Our ethos is customer focused – We’re committed to providing a high quality service continuously re-investing in our infrastructure, support that never misses a beat and pricing that matches our offerings.

In a very competitive market Optimal Hosting aim to go the distance to provide a fulfilling and hands on service with a dedicated team to give you, the customer, the service you deserve.

 

Disclaimer

As always, HostJury recommend that while price may be a consideration when choosing a web host, it should only be one of the many factored into your research. Page load speeds, additional features, good communication, and a fast knowledgeable support team will always top saving a few cents per day... or in this case, a few bucks! As always, HostJury makes no recommendation or endorsement of any listed service providers. Web hosts are always presented in no particular order. You are encouraged to practice due diligence.. and at some point leave a review of the services provided.

Coupons may also be found on review pages of many of the web hosts reviewed on HostJury. Look in the right column under the related blog post section.

Web hosts wishing to participate in HostJury's deals and steals are invited to contact us by email: feedback@hostjury.com.

Cartika offers new reseller hosting packages

Mon, 2nd June 2014, 15:40

Canadian provider of managed application and reseller hosting Cartika has announced the introduction of their new premium cPanel reseller hosting packages. The company’s cPanel reseller packages, which can be hosted in both Canada and the US, are managed via Cartika’s CommandLayer control interface and offer an array of advanced hosting features for reseller web hosting.

Cartika’s cPanel reseller hosting packages use cPanel to provide an intuitive and powerful control interface for designers, developers, agencies, and other providers of web hosting services. Reseller accounts benefit from Cartika’s extensive network infrastructure, and include unlimited bandwidth per account, with access to Cartika’s geographically distributed cloud DNS, the company’s IP Anycast DNS network, and the Cartika CDN. To maximize the performance and resource efficiency of sites hosted on reseller accounts, Nginx is used for serving static content, while a reverse proxy to Apache is used for dynamic content.

Cartika’s cPanel solutions are based on CloudLinux and CageFS, which together create a shared hosting environment with rigorous account isolation and easily managed resource allocation. Backups are managed via Bacula4Hosts, which gives cPanel users access to 15 restore points covering all data, including files, databases, and email. Accounts also include inbound and outbound anti-spam email filtering from SpamExperts and real-time anti-malware monitoring.

Cartika CEO Andrew Rouchotas says

We’re always conscious that reseller hosting users are entrusting their client’s business critical web hosting needs to us. That’s a responsibility we take seriously. Our reseller hosting plans offer the highest levels of control, reliability, and security. And because they’re built on Cartika’s advanced hosting platform and take advantage of our extensive US, Canadian, and international infrastructure, our cPanel reseller accounts provide unbeatable performance.

Cartika’s cPanel plans are hosted on enterprise-grade servers with dual Quad Core Intel Xeon E5520 processors, between 96 GB and 128 GB of RAM, and eight 600 GB SAS drives in a hardware RAID 10 configuration with battery backup unit. All servers have redundant power and bandwidth connections. Prices start at $25 per month.

About Cartika

Founded in Toronto in May 2000, Cartika Inc has established itself as a leader in Application Hosting and advanced clustering technologies. Cartika offers a wide array of infrastructure services, complemented by extensive management solutions and clustering technologies. For more information, visit http://www.hostjury.com/reviews/Cartika+Hosting

Kiwi Webhoster 24/7 offers lame apology after month long hiatus

Tue, 27th May 2014, 15:52

And they are back. Well somebody is anyway! AWOL Kiwi webhoster 24/7 Hosting NZ has returned from a month long hiatus that left clients scrambling to retrieve domain names and find alternative hosting solutions while the web hosting vultures circled. 24/7 finally contacted its customers claiming to be “resolving all issues”.

The embattled company insists on Facebook  that it is working to respond to support request, posting:

“Valued customers, please review our e-mail to you this morning and know that we are working to resolve all issues. Some contact methods are still not working. If you have a support request, please ensure that you have submitted it through ttps://support.247hosting.co.nz/clientarea.php.”

It appears 24/7 management, whose whereabouts has alluded customers for a month, first order of business may have been to delete all the soliciting comment spam on its social media pages including the testimonials pertaining to other webhosting competitors.

“To any of our customers wishing to move: please research your new provider carefully. We understand your decision, but we do NOT have any knowledge of affiliation with any of the companies which have solicited on this Facebook page or on our Twitter.”

For some the resurrection isn’t enough, with disgruntled customer continuing to post comments like the “Damage is done guys, I’ve shifted and no way would I trust you to come back.” and another “I rely heavily on hosting to run my business (aka make money and feed my family) if you guys are going under, can you give me the best heads up possible?”

According to 24/7 Hosting NZ, who have suddenly become very interactive with their customers, the company

“understands” the troubles of its users, and claims its 24/7 support email is now up and operating. Unfortunately for some customers our services have been lacking and our communication has been null.

Leading up to this latest lapse in service, some were already expressing dissatisfaction with the direction 24/7 was heading:

“Absolutely useless support,” wrote Andrew Stephen, on the company’s official Facebook page months ago. “They expired my domain 9 months before it was due then won’t respond to my open support ticket, my repeated phone calls, email or via Facebook or twitter.

“When I logged the original call their site said 27 minutes to respond, it’s been over 4 hours and I’ve heard nothing.”

Tony Duffy posted about the struggling company writing:

“BEWARE SCAM! These guys are scammers. Taken our clubs money and never reply to emails or calls. You’ve already been on fair go in 2011 and still up to your old tricks.”

Kylie Vernon wrote: “Horrific customer service – have tried to get in touch 7 TIMES via email and facebook and absolutely NO replies. All I wanted to do was start re using your service.”

That reference to ‘Fair Go’ by Duffy was a damning TVNZ Fair Go report in July 2011,  that claimed 24/7 Hosting NZ has had a history of ripping off the public, with the investigation claiming the company was even guilty of ripping off another hosting company’s website.

“And there’s something very odd about the 247Hosting website design,”speculated reporter Gordon Harcourt at the time. “It’s astonishingly similar to that of TMDHosting.com, a company based in Delaware USA. I contacted them and they say their design has been “stolen”.”

Harcourt also raised questions on ownership of 247Hosting.

“Is run by Caleb Finlay - or is it Caleb Carrington? Both names appear on Companies Office records, and we think they are the same guy, but via his lawyer it was claimed Caleb Carrington is the father. Then the story was it's a legal name change. I've tried to clarify that, but with no success.”

Now in 2014, Interestingly enough, the mysterious 24/7 FB poster is stating:

To those asking for accountability: as we have replaced the support team to work through existing support enquiries, we do not wish to subject them to personal attacks in such a passionate environment. As such, all social media/mass mail correspondence will not feature names of employees. Thank you for your understanding.

The 24/7 FB poster also responded to a comment stated:

We are very sorry to all of our customers and are working as hard as we can to make up for time lost. As mentioned, management, like our service team, is changing. We will be making announcements on new management later this week.

Given the questionable history of 24/7, its arguable just how many of the estimated 2500 clients affected by this fiasco still have any misplaced sense of economic patriotism. Scepticism maybe but allegiance.. less so.

Hostjury will be amongst the many eagerly anticipating the ‘coming clean’ announcements later this week. 24/7 clients, past and present, can share their experiences by writing a review.

HostPapa Australia 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

Domain Registry is Capitalism with a Big C. How it affects your venture

Wed, 21st May 2014, 16:10

A followup to an earlier story on the new top-level domains available- we found an interesting question floating around the web that basically questions: why are domain registration so expensive? ICANN, the non-profit responsible with coordinating the global DNS, only charges 18 cents for any given domain. But the price for, say, a typical .com address is about $10.

Suck it up. It’s only ten bucks!

While the annual fee paid for ‘renting’ that domain may pale in comparison to the ransoms paid in domain auctions, or to those pesky domain squatters to initially acquire a web address, many businesses today are forced to expend small fortunes registering and renewing domain names to protect their brands. Not only are businesses peremptorily registering the dot com, dot org and dot net, but also anything else that is remotely close, along with every conceivable misspelled typo.  

As an example, Poor Webhosts are compelled not only to register the domain poorwebhosts.com, net, org, biz, along with a country specific domain ie dot us, but also to prevent a competitor from creating brand confusion, a prudent entrepreneur would register pourwebhost dot com, biz, etc. Then you need the poorwebhosting and poorhost.. then there are typo squatters so .. well you get the point. Brand protection is an expensive proposition.

So where is that money going?

The truth of that matter is that there’s a fairly interesting process going on beneath the registrar you go to for a domain name. Your $10- or $25, or $50 (editor's note: maybe hundreds.. or even thousands) as it may be with some of the newer, more inventive TLDs, is really just a big money pie, and there’s both a rhyme and a reason to the way that pie is divided.

So there’s the little ICANN fee right there, almost half of the equally small processing fee. It turns out, not much of the pie ends up going to your registrar in the first place, regardless of who they may be. The majority of that money is going straight to VeriSign- not the registrar, but the registry beneath it all.

Your registrar has its work cut out for it. First off, in order to become a registrar, you need a business with cash reserves, all of the capabilities online and ready to go, and at least five employees. Furthermore, competition is healthy. ICANN has a list of countless registrars, and none of them have real control over the market. So that healthy slab of the pie is being shaped by market forces, just as the rest of the small fees make sense in context. It’s VeriSign’s Pac-Man sized slice that boggles the mind, and if it seems excessively large to you, join the club.

You see, VeriSign is the registry- they’re in control of both the .com and .net domains. It’s a monopoly in the purest sense of the word, due to a lack of appreciation for the massive importance of domain registry back in the 90s, followed by some fumbled legal back-and-forth with ICANN. The monopoly VeriSign enjoys over the biggest TLDs on the entire internet means that for years, they’ve been able to hike up prices on .com registration, earning them an enormous war chest- we’re talking upwards of a billion dollars in yearly revenue, here.

ICANN (and consumers) won a real victory in 2012, in which VeriSign was forced to stop increasing the price of .com registry until 2018. But .net and .name still belong to VeriSign, and are set to balloon in price during that time, guaranteeing growth for the already bloated VeriSign anyway.

It’s possible that, with the last vestiges of control over the internet being relinquished by the US government, VeriSign will lose their long-enjoyed monopoly over the .com registry, and that would certain cause prices to fluctuate from competition. Along with those thousands of new TLD extensions entering the market are now alternative to the dot nets.

Regardless who you pay, You will pay

Which takes us back to Poor Webhosts. Some of these new TLD extensions are nothing more than ridiculous money grabs. Brand protection by registering multiple domains has become prohibitively expensive. It may now be cheaper to hire a lawyer, register a trademark, and enforce that mark with every clown attempting to cash in on your brand. Stealing your business, or your cash, it's the cost of doing business.

 

UK Hoster M247 acquires another competitor: UKWSD

Tue, 20th May 2014, 13:20

UK based webhost M247 is touting that it has completed the acquisition of 'UK Web Solutions Direct' (UKWSD), for what is said to be an undisclosed seven-figure sum. The all cash deal will see M247 taking over ongoing Web Hosting service agreements for in excess of 15,000 websites and allows the existing owners of UKWSD to pursue and focus on their other interests, following a period of transition.

This is the ninth acquisition for M247 over the past 10 years and represents a continuation of the company’s strategy of consolidating the UK’s highly fragmented web hosting market. (editor’s note.. a strategy shared by a number of companies.. eg: United Internet, Endurance International, and so on. Monopolies are great for companies.. not so good for consumers! ). UKWSD customers can look forwards to enjoying the benefits of M247’s experience, support team and infrastructure as well as access to the wide range of M247 products and services.

M247 Managing Director, David Buckle, says:

I’m delighted to welcome UKWSD customers to the M247 family. The team at M247 are looking forward to getting to know them and are already standing by to continue providing the very highest levels of customer support that they’ve come to expect from UKWSD.

UKWSD Director, Paul Ridge adds:

Having known and worked closely with the team at M247 over the past decade we’re confident that our valued customers are in the very best possible hands and can look forward to many more years of the trouble-free service they’re used to with UKWSD.

While that all seem fine and dandy, a quick glance at the price points of the various hosting plan offered by the two webhosts suggest a discrepancy that may not go over well with the owners of those 15,000 websites. HJ is reaching out to M247 for more details. It will also give us a chance to find out how M247 sponsorship of Joe Girling is working out!

About the Companies

M247 is a leading provider of Internet infrastructure services in Europe and operates two state-of-the-art datacentres on Trafford Park in Manchester as well as an extensive high-capacity European backbone network spanning Manchester, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, Prague, Budapest and Bucharest. M247 is a fast growing privately owned company run by the original founding directors. The company has over 10 years’ experience of designing, deploying and managing complex Web Hosting platforms for some of the world’s largest website.

UKWSD has been providing a premium UK web hosting service since 2001. As their reputation has grown so has the customer base with the majority of our new customers coming through recommendations.

PHP hosting UK

eApps and 4T Networks merger: Same Philosophy. Stronger Team

Mon, 19th May 2014, 16:47

eApps and 4T Networks turned heads recently with their merger, resulting in a much more robust eApps taking on the clientele and ongoing projects of 4T. We wanted to get a little insight into the merger, and see what it meant for the trajectory of the two companies. So we sat down with Richard Lingsch, President of eApps, and got to know a little bit about the two companies, and how they plan to move forward.

HJ: What led up to the merger? Was there a particular shared quality that made eApps and 4T Networks compatible?

Richard Lingsch: eApps and 4T Networks have a long standing relationship. Both companies have a data center presence in the same facility in Atlanta and have collaborated on projects over the years. Both companies share the same philosophies in terms of delivering high quality services and going above and beyond the call of duty for customers. We knew that combining our services would be a good fit, but more importantly knew that combining our personnel would result in a much stronger team.

HJ: eApps has always appeared to be an enterprise-oriented service. Now combined with 4T Networks, is eApps an option for smaller developers, or is it still focused on serving larger-scale outfits?

Richard Lingsch: Actually both companies server a wide range of customers, from developers to enterprise customers. The eApps Cloud service has a very low entry level price, less than $15 per month for a virtual cloud server, and serves over 5,000 customers in more than 125 countries. 4T Networks offers VPS hosting for the lot to medium market and a VMware service that is geared toward Enterprise customers. Our plan is twofold. First, we will continue to position the eApps OnApp based Cloud service for a world-wide base of developers, SMBs and organizations seeking a semi-managed service at a lower price point than a RackSpace or similar provider. Second, we will leverage our VMware service to serve more customers seeking a complete, well supported, Enterprise grade VMware environment, again with a value proposition that is much more favorable than what is offered by the large service providers.

HJ: What does 4T Networks bring to the future of eApps?

Richard Lingsch: A stronger team and the VMware Enterprise grade service.

HJ: Will the 4T Networks brand continue to operate, or will its customers be rolled into eApps directly?

Richard Lingsch: The company will continue under the eApps brand.

HJ: The press release discusses 4T Network’s promising Create-a-Cloud service. How will the new eApps use this service to grow as a business?

Richard Lingsch: Create-a-Cloud was developed by eApps and is a registered trademark of eApps Hosting. 4T Networks customers that are not on the VMware service will have the opportunity to take advantage of the eApps Cloud service, using the Create-A-Cloud tools. eApps, with the assistance of 4T Networks staff is currently in the process of improving the Create-A-Cloud service to make it easier to use, and with even more predictable pricing. Our products and services group is also working on new ways to leverage the Create-A-Cloud concept, to simplify the use of the Cloud service even further, make it easier to install and use middle-ware application services, while at the same time offering more sophisticated tools for resource planning and management and enhanced security.

HJ: What is the timeframe on the merger? How are things progressing for both companies?

Richard Lingsch: The merger has been completed, we are now one entity called eApps Hosting. The integration of our network and administrative systems is proceeding well and with great care so as to minimize impact on our customers.

About eApps

Since 1996, eApps Hosting has evolved into a premier provider of application hosting services. The company's staff are experts on some of the most widely used applications, which are delivered and managed using a powerful web based administration interface. Our technical expertise initially focused on Java Application Servers (Tomcat, GlassFish, JBoss, Liferay Portal) for web applications, and relational databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL). Over the years our technical skills have expanded to cover other leading programming technologies and frameworks including PHP with Zend Framework, Ruby on Rails, and Groovy and Grails. We also provide support for widely used Content Management System (CMS) applications, including Joomla!, WordPress, and Drupal.

Crazy Domains offers $100 credit for losing client's data

Mon, 19th May 2014, 12:54

Australian web host Crazy Domains has a crazy vision of " Providing simple, innovative and affordable online products and services that change lives", all for a crazy low prices that start at $2.39. Crazy Domains is now offering a relatively small number of customers $100 to compensate for losing their web hosting data. (editor's note.. that's crazy!)

Crazy Domains, which is owned by Dubai business Dreamscape Networks, has sent out an email stating that “due to an unforseen incident in a storage upgrade the data from your hosting account has unfortunately been irretrievably lost”.

18 out of a possible 100 Australian clients using the particular server were affected by the incident and Crazy Domains is in the process of re-allocating their data to a new storage system with "enhanced" capabilities.

While data backup remains the responsibility of the customer with hosting services, the company’s engineers had been working tirelessly and around the clock with the storage vendors to try and recover this data.

However, I am sorry to say in this instance the relevant backups were also damaged, and I regret that our engineers have not been successful in their efforts to restore the lost data.

It’s never easy to say sorry, or to break bad news, but it’s our policy to always be upfront and honest with you.

While some may suggest that offering $100 for losing all the data is an insult, clients with a backup are likely rubbing their hands in glee! The reality is that few webhosts (if any) don't explicatively state in their terms of service that offsite back up of data is the responsibility of clients. Depending on the webhost, Service Level Agreements (SLA) wll also provide varying amounts of compensation for any downtime but is usually limited to a month of free service. Historically many webhosts have offered a free year of service as a goodwill gesture. Crazy Domains offer of a $100 credit (considering their plan pricing) is quite generous.

The moral of the story: clients are responsible for their own data backups. The reality: most people don't take their responsibility seriously! 

 

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

Death is life's way of telling you you're fired. The Deadpool

Wed, 7th May 2014, 10:47

Time for another deadpool already! 2014 marches on, and not everyone has been able to keep up. April was a relatively light month… What's that adage, April showers bring May flowers! Could be a sign that the webhost mortality rate is on the decline. Probably not, all things considered.

 

CubicWebs

Notice on CubicWebs homepage says the company is going out of business  

You know, as much fun as we poke at hosts that go bust, we have to take a minute to appreciate the way CubicWebs has handled it. After clear signs of danger to come, they stopped taking on new customers, sent out notices well in advance of closing, and now they’ve finally gone. Hats off for going out with dignity.

 

SmackHunt

Tips for new hosting providers: try to pick a name for your service that isn’t a euphemism for ‘heroin search’. Most of the slack will be picked up by sister provider HorseFind, we hear. Customers are apparently really addicted.

 

HostPany

“HostPany will save you big and teach you things over the competition.” Well sign me up! They also promise a FREE ebook that teaches how to make a living online! Holy crap, what a deal! I wonder if they can connect us to some Nigerian princes who need to move money around. Guess we’ll never know.

 

Broadline Networks

Broadline went out of business, we can assume, for wasting a perfectly good name for a phone dating service. “Hello, welcome to Broadline. What type of broad can we connect you to today?” Nobody better steal that idea. We’ll sue the crap out of you.

 

TronicHost

TWO letters. TWO measly letters away from all the chronic jokes we could cram into one deadpool, all for a company that folded right around 4/20. Thanks for nothing, TronicHost. Tell you what, this is one tough job sometimes.

 

FiberVolt

Quiet on Twitter, quiet on Facebook. These guys melted into the ether without a peep. From their service description: “The hosting market is over-saturated with companies appearing and disappearing everyday.” And how!

 

Enotchnetworks

For quite some time these guys have been taking a pounding on that forum with the partisan webhosts spouting the only unbiased hosting reviews on the web jargon.  Structural problems can topple even a relatively old host, and it seems like the attrition finally got to these guys.

 

Apple Domains

Oh my gosh, Apple went out of business? How?! They just won their court case against Samsung and everything, how could they h… oh. Apple Domains.in. Ohhhh India. That’s not the same fruit at all.

 

HostDoes

A host is as a host does, and right now this host doesn’t resolve, so you should probably get your services elsewhere.

 

Barak Hosting

Oh sure, just go and close on us right when we need hosting services. That’s totally fine. Thanks, Obama.

 

Looking for a new webhost. Choose wisely and read the reviews! 

Web Hosting

Live Chat Anyone; GoDaddy ditches email support.

Tue, 6th May 2014, 18:01

Although GoDaddy has made tremendous strides to enhance their image, it's safe to say they're not the world’s most beloved host. GoDaddy is like the McDonald’s of hosting. Totally ubiquitous, massively over-marketed, and with a product that generally satisfies consumers with as basic as service as they can manage.

Because there’s safety in numbers, right? GoDaddy, being one of the largest players in the game, at the very least offers all the benefits of highly funded, totally established webhosting… right? Well, not so fast. As of last month, and completely without notice to their customers, GoDaddy dropped a feature one might expect to be standard for any hosting provider: email support.

Using Twitter and other forms of direct communication with its client base, GoDaddy confirmed that email support had been phased out in favor of “better support options, such as Live Chat.” It’s a mindboggling decision, to be sure. Anyone with any familiarity with live chat support will know that it doesn’t always quite cut it when it comes to the complex issues relevant to hosting support. While email provides clear, easily accessed archives of discussion, chat relies on active participation and web browsers to work. (editor's thought.. how often has a support request been sent while running out the door.. or hitting the hay?)

The worst problem with chat, of course, is that it puts the burden on the customer. We made three attempts to contact GoDaddy via their chat feature. The first, chat was inexplicably unavailable. With no email support, we’d have to hope in that case that whatever the problem was could be resolved via the phone. The second, our estimated wait was an astonishing 50 minutes. Patiently, we awaited a support representative, who… never came. An hour passed, and we disconnected without hearing back. The third time we decided to wait until sometime late, hoping that avoiding peak hours would offer the opportunity for quicker support. We were told to brace for a brief eight minute wait, which seems pretty reasonable until you realize that’s for 1AM in the morning. Minutes ticked by, and then… Our estimated wait time is eight minutes. Okay, so that’s not that bad, something got gummed up, we can wait another… Our estimated wait time is ten minutes.

Ultimately, we never received any support from GoDaddy, despite waiting for an absolutely excessive amount of time. The consequence is that for many users, this isn’t just a removal of email support, it’s a removal of any and all support that isn’t phone-based. And the telephone support that is offered warns of regular half hour waiting period before support can be received.

The bottom line is that there is rarely a benefit in removing features, especially something as basic and critical as email support. Customers shouldn’t be expected to make time for GoDaddy- a service-oriented provider should make time for its customers. At least give clients a pay to play option!

The importance of GoDaddy means there could be far wider consequences for this feature removal than just the GoDaddy site itself. MediaTemple, for example, was recently acquired by GoDaddy. The question has to be asked, what does this mean for the future of email support there, also?

We've contacted Media Temple (mt) (editor's note.. Nick should have used the live chat!) to get their take on the matter.

30% off new products now at GoDaddy!

Did Automattic just sell its soul

Mon, 5th May 2014, 19:22

Writing on his blog MA.TT, Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automattic (the company behind Wordpress) leads off the post with “I’ll start with the big stuff: Automattic is raising $160M”. Matt continues that it’s the first investment into the company since 2008.

Not long ago Matt wrote that “Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained.”

So in January after eight years at the helm of Automattic, Toni Schneider and Matt Mullenweg switched roles, allowing Schneider to focus on Automattic’s new products, while Mullenweg would oversee the running of the company. At the time Matt stated it was more ceremonial as their roles had always been fluid. What a difference a few months make!

 
 
The 100-day plan
 
Now Matt ‘admits’ that he may have been hasty with some of those aforementioned quotes:  
 
I was wrong, but I didn't realize it until I took on the CEO role in January. Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster. Also our cash position wasn't going to be terribly strong especially after a number of infrastructure and product investments this and last year.
 
So part of my 100-day plan as CEO was to figure out what new funding could look like and we found a great set of partners who believe in our vision for how the web should be and how we can scale into the opportunity ahead of us, though it ended up taking 110 days until the first close. (Our other main areas of focus have been improving mobile, a new version of WP.com, and Jetpack.) 
 
The round of financing was led by Deven Parekh of Insight Venture, as well as some new investors that included Chris Sacca and Endurance, (editor’s note.. Endurance is the mega-host Endurance International Group.. owner of webhosting brands everywhere!), and a ‘special vehicle’ made up of long time backers True Ventures and the existing secondary investors from last year, Tiger and Iconiq. (There is a second close soon so this list might change a bit.)

 

Crystal Ball Time

 

Matt Mullenweg states:

WordPress is in a market as competitive as it has ever been, especially on the proprietary and closed side. He believes WordPress will win, first and foremost, because of its community — the hundreds of core developers and large commercial companies, the tens of thousands of plugin and theme developers, and the millions of people who build beautiful things with WordPress every day. (editors note: I’m sure some Drupal fans somewhere would disagree)

Automattic is here to support that community and invest the full strength of our resources to making WordPress a better product every day, bringing us closer to our shared mission of democratizing publishing. But a majority of the web isn’t on an open platform yet, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. 

 

Back to it!

Despite some wannabe wordpress competitors like Weebly, Squarespace, and Medium raising some serious cash, wordpress still continues to power, more or less, 25% of the websites on the internet. While Matt Mullenweg is undoubtedly a purist in his quest to ensure an open web, (as are the countless evangelists of the wp platform), it remains to be seen whether the investors and shareholders surrounding the company he has built from the ground share that same vision…

(the editor ponders one last time: One of the webhosting company’s recommended by Wordpress is BlueHost. Possibly that will change now Mega-host Endurance International Group owns a piece of the Automattic pie. )

“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that's much harder?”

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

 

Despite the hard times Dayana Host keeps it classy

Mon, 5th May 2014, 12:10

Canadian webhoster Dayana Host’s company profile claimed that ‘they have always strived to be the best and the most cost efficient at providing the internet community with premium web hosting and outstanding customer care’. Dayana Host offered budget web hosting as well as premium plans.

Screenshot of the Dayana Host website 

The reason for the past tense in the prior paragraph is that as of May 30, 2014, Dayana Host will close the doors.. and unplug the servers! The notice displayed on the company website homepage shares some of the reasons

For the past 11 years, we served hosting services to our loyal clients and did our best to keep the service going, up to date and supported. However, due to financial situations we are unable to continue the service. Production of all hosting services of Dayana Host has already stopped. We keep all the accounts active and working until Friday, May 30th, 2014 11:59 PM PDT and then all hosting services will be shut down, that includes Reseller Accounts, Business Accounts, Personal Accounts and all Say5 and Unlimited Plans.

In past 6 month, we tried very hard to find a new home for all the accounts, although some companies/individuals offered us some beyond expectation deals, but we decided to not take them simply because we do not want to jeopardize billing information and priceless site contents of thousands of clients who trusted us for the past decade. We do not have affiliation or experience with any provider; therefore we cannot recommend any of them.

The notice reassures clients that even though the company itself will cease operation, domain registration will remain active for at least 3 years so clients can renew or transfer the domain to another registrar. Although Dayana Host is not able to provide refunds on paid service, they are offering full refunds to any client making a payment in the last 30 days. 

The people at Dayana Host offer clients one last piece of advice that’s hard to argue with:
 
Please take your time to research new hosting providers and select the one who can meet your technical and financial requirements. 

Finding and migrating to a new webhost does have its potential pitfalls. Call us bias but we like to think HostJury is a good place to start!

When any company closes it is easy to overlook the emotional effects on the compatriots who have more often than not, poured their lives into building and running the entity. It is well documented the numerous times webhost just close the doors with no notice to clients, often with no way to retrieve their data let alone domains. In a dark moment Dayana Host has kept it both classy and professional. Hats off to that!

Web Hosting

Fused’s ‘Learn to Code’ Initiative.

Fri, 2nd May 2014, 17:08

Much like the cell phone industry, webhosting companies are infamous for regurgitating an endless parade of repackaged same old same old hoopla, hoping to lure away some penny pinching Monty Burns type from the competition, or maybe just catch some unsuspecting refugee fleeing from one of their other brands.

So when Fused Network started offering a $100 account credit to any Fused customer who completes either the PHP or CSS/HTML courses at Codeacademy, we had to take a closer look, if only to alleviate the tedium of predictability we suffer on a daily basis.

We sat down with Fused CEO and founder David McKendrick to get his perspective on why this is such a good idea, and the increasing importance of coding literacy today and in the future. Also keep in mind that whether you’re a Fused member or not, Codeacademy offers free coding lessons for a number of applications and languages. It’s never too late to start learning!

 

HJ: Please tell us a bit about Fused’s ‘learn to code’ initiative.

 

David J: I came up with the idea after I completed the PHP course on codecademy myself; It wasn't long before I got extremely excited over the newfound skillset I was wielding almost immediately to make my life easier.

Over the past number of years, I was personally spending an increasing amount of my time finding developers for various projects at Fused. Not being intimate with coding firsthand for the past few decades really limited me, even in hiring. The truth is that as the internet and technology continues to become even more predominate in our lives, learning to code only becomes more & more relevant.

The insight it can offer someone in just our everyday lives is astounding, and, not to sound cliche, but it truly does open up a world of possibilities. To put that in more relatable terms: It's like knowing how to fix a car might come in handy when you're car shopping, or on the side of the road with a busted fuse; Being familiar with housing construction (& even basic remodeling) while you're in the search to select a home for your family, or, fixing that pesky leak that keeps you awake at night. That very knowledge gives you an immense amount of power in avoiding pitfalls with a leaky roof, or, helping you launch the next facebook.

Imagine being able to look at some new project in your own daily work from that new perspective. Knowing how to code is almost like a sixth sense, and if you don't know how to already: Learn! :)

 

HJ: You’re offering $200 in credit to any users who complete Codecademy’s PHP and HTML/CSS courses. We’re willing to bet that the end result of that process is worth more than $200 per user. Are we right? How does widespread programming literacy benefit Fused as a business?

 

David J: It would be of an immense value, but, part of the reasoning is sincerely just to get our clientbase to try new things. Knowing firsthand that many of them wrangle with their websites constantly, I can see value in each of them getting a better idea of how the internals of them work. I can go back to that car example -- if you're a driver, knowing how to change your tire, oil, and windshield wipers could save you an awful lot of hassle. And, it puts things in perspective -- you might have a better idea whether a project is feasible, or, at least how much work is required to get something operational.

A client might suddenly put down the idea to try to build another facebook in three days, but, they could instead build some tool or code snippet that's extremely relevant for their industry (or clients), helping separate them from your competition. Knowing how to code opens up a massive realm of possibilities, and, I want them to see that.

 

HJ: There’s an ever-increasing integration of software into our daily lives, but so far it doesn’t seem like there’s a truly concerted effort to make programming more than an elective in secondary education. To what extent is that even sustainable?

 

David J: That might hold true today in most respects, but, I'm seeing constant iniatives outside & inside schools that seem to acknowledge just how relevant it is for the next generation to know some of these firsthand. There's a number just here in Chattanooga, where we recently moved Fused (An unrelated note: For their fantastic gigabit internet to every household -- think google fiber, but, on a county-wide scale). The last generation got to pave a technological runway for the next generation to take off, and there is honestly no time more exciting than now.

An example of external organizations taking the initiative: Our local library here in Chattanooga offers free access to great resources for coding, like treehouse, another website dedicated to learning to code: All with just a library card. While the local school system might sorely lack the ample resources, the local community seems to be taking the helm and making up for any slack and I've seen that firsthand in many communities and cities.

 

HJ: If someone is hesitating on becoming code literate, it’s not unreasonable to suspect it’s because they don’t see the application that such literacy could have in their daily lives. What would you tell them to spark that desire to learn?

 

David J: In the same way that knowing how to cook, or paint, or pickup a hammer & nail and build something, gives you insight into what you're eating, or the potential of an empty room, or, that next fun home project, simply adds unlimited possibilities to your daily life. Imagine being able to see every new problem as a potential project, and a fun way to expand your horizons from a technological perspective. With greatest sincerity, I urge everyone to give it a few hours of their time. Hold off on that television show, here's something you can learn from your couch that'll change your life.

 

HJ: Do you have any larger plans to leverage Fused as an entity towards better programming literacy for all?

 

David J: I think just being a good citizen on the internet involves making sure education is a key role in our organization. I know that as someone with a small team working for me, making sure that they continue to expand their skillset, horizons & possibilities to give them a huge advantage, in their careers and in their own lives. I sincerely hope every client takes us up on our offer, and, like I did not more than a week ago, learns to code.

 

Conclusion

A code monkey is defined in the Urban dictionary as an affectionate term for a specific kind of underpaid, overworked (often by volition), increasingly underappreciated indentured servant, otherwise known as a Software Programmer. While the Fused’s ‘learn to code’ initiative is not likely to change that, it may at least give site owners a greater appreciation of the contributions made by the developers and programmers around us. 

 

About Fused  

Fused is a leading provider of web hosting offering first class support, uptime & performance for personal & business clients in over 65 countries around the world.
Bootstrapped and cashflow positive since day one. We still have our very first client and although our offerings & team have changed slightly over the years we've continued to strive to ensure every client is thoroughly satisfied.
Fused has a goal of partnering with each and every client as though they're investors in us & we in them. We truly wish to see each and every one of our clients succeed & we take every opportunity available to assist.

 

Hackers Blackmail Web Host AlfaNet

Mon, 28th April 2014, 21:24

The Rex Mundi hackers twitter feed is almost humorous in a twisted sort of way. Recently they tweeted a job offer for one firm after claiming to have hacked into the company’s servers. Talk about rubbing salt in open wounds! 

JOB OFFER: Habeas.be is looking for an IT sec expert (m/f). Competitive salary and benefits. Extremely URGENT!

eSecurity Planet is reporting that the group’s latest exploit has targeted the Belgian Web hosting company AlfaNet. (editor's note: with numerous variants of AlfaNet on the interwebs, HJ would like to clarify this one is using the domain http://www.alfahosting.be).

The hackers claim to have stolen AlfaNet’s client data and are threatening to publish the entire customer database if a ransom of 15,000 Euros wasn't paid by the end of the day on April 25, 2014.

To prove that they had the data, the hackers have published a list of databases and tables, along with samples of customer data, including name, e-mail addresses, phone number, address, VAT number, login and hashed password.

"Alfanet has two more days to pay us 15,000 Euros," the hackers wrote at the time. "Unfortunately, so far, they did not reply to our emails. We hope that they will decide to protect their customers before the deadlines expires on Friday evening. If no money is received on Friday evening, we will post their entire database and we will directly attack some of their customers."

On April 25, they published a list of approximately 12,000 customers' names, writing,

"We have decided to give them an additional 24 hours to do the right thing and protect their customers. Below are the names of all of the people whose data is in our possession. If Alfa Hosting still has not agreed to meet our demands by tomorrow evening, we will publish their contact data, login and passwords."

As no further information had been released. HostJury has reached out to Alfanet for comment but we’re not holding our breath.

 

Web Hosting

Sacre.blue! Government of Quebec loses dispute over Quebec.com

Fri, 25th April 2014, 17:20

In an interesting bit of hosting-related case law, the government of Quebec has lost a naming dispute over the relatively easy to remember Quebec.com, failing to convince the court that the squatters currently parked on the domain (they’ve turned it into an unspectacular sponsored search list) nabbed it from them in ‘bad faith’, meaning with the intent to deceive users into thinking they represented the government, or that it constitutes ‘reverse domain hijacking’, citing an earlier case which established that merely typing the name of a place into one’s browser does not constitute an expectation that what they’ll find will be official.

It’s pretty embarrassing for the government of Quebec, of course, but it sounds like the right decision. Top level domains like .coms are increasingly barren for newcomers of all kinds. The crowding of the most popular TLDs impacts more than just provincial governments, and many of these competing interests have been around for a long, long time- the decision cited a failure on the part of Quebec’s government to raise a complaint in the last 15 years.

But never fear, digital Quebecois! On the heels of this decision comes the launch of a whole lot of new top level domains!You can find a list of what’s now available right here. There are some interesting extensions available.

Of course, one of the more interesting aspects of new TLDs is their ability to be appended into phrases that are appealingly easy to think of. There are very few notable websites from Libya, but .ly is such an effective domain extension that just about every word you can string together with the extension has been snapped up already. There’s nothing quite that compact in the new offerings, but there’s more than a few interesting options.

There’s quite a few trade-specific options: .education, .florist, .builders, that sort of thing. Trademark owners might want to take these options seriously: there’s currently a grace period where you can get in before the public if this applies to you. .guru and .cheap sound like the future of a lot of advertisement portals. No doubt an enterprising summer host will take the opportunity to create the ultimate doppleganger by registering name.cheap. We’re taking bets on how long until we’ve got that one in a deadpool article.

Some of the options are a little off kilter… we’re not sure what to do with .sexy, but we can imagine people will figure out something. Some lucky travel site is going to claim bon.voyage, which seems like the only reason that TLD even exists. .ninja doesn’t seem very practical, but at least it’s more interesting than .lighting.

Anyway, hopefully these new options will soften the blow for the good people of Quebec. After all, Quebec.today sounds like a pretty upbeat address for a website. Or Quebec.buzz.

One thing is for sure: the provincial government of Quebec, and anyone else who wants to take advantage of all these new TLDs, should probably not wait 15 years to try to claim one.

iWeb Technologies Inc.

THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

Wed, 16th April 2014, 15:21

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
T.S. Eliot

I have no idea why the editor placed that poem at the begining of this post. Possibly a personal favorite, or filler as this month the deadpool is a bit shorter than usual… Does that mean that spring is good for hosting providers, or are a few clinging to life for a torrent of closings in late April? Regardless, there’s still plenty of corpses for the pool, so let’s see who choked out their last in the ides of March.

HostingNitro

You have to love it when a hosting provider shuts down, but for some reason their domain stays up and their ordering page is still active. Probably don’t want to give out your billing info as the ship is sinking. Just a heads up.

 

HostWeby

Odd story here. HostWeby was a Romanian hosting provider incorporated by OnlineSlice, and has since led its customers to a redirect to that company. It’s not that HostWeby or OnlineSlice is dead, per se, just that they’re shuttering their standalone hosting service- now it’s a bonus for the customers of their other products. Kind of like a free lunch deal?

Greenhoster

Not much to say here. Greenhoster was a UK hosting provider that prided itself on its efficient power consumption- entirely wind energy powered. Supposedly. We can only hope the website’s decay won’t cause any greenhouse gases.

Eshost

“Our project aims to provide free hosting without advertising for Spanish-speaking community and above all, provide quality support for it.”
Maybe you guys should’ve stuck with some ads, huh? I’m not sure how free hosting sans advertisement even works. Was it a charity host?

24kHost

Man, we warned these guys over and over again: 24.4k modems are too oldschool for the current generation of cloud hosting. If only these guys had moved up to something newer, like 56k. They might still be in business.

EzyHost

Not to be confused with Eazy Host, the official hosting provider of the N.W.A., the D.O.C. and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Also passing away this month, it’s survived for now by its close affiliates BiggieHost and Wu-Tang Corporate Solutions.

Hostclipse

In ancient times, (circa 1999) Hostclipses were dark portents of the oncoming dot-com bubble. Now a Hostclipse is only a minor annoyance, especially when compared to the prophesied Hostpocalypse, when Amazon and Google will collapse in gouts of flame. Everyone will be forced to sign up for iPowerWeb, and the only search engine that works will be AskJeeves. And you’ll have to type out the whole question, every time. Question mark included. Chilling!

IgenHost

IgenHost had a nice HostJury landing page. Unlike the typical ‘we strive to be the ultimate host with the best customer service!’ cookie cutter copy, Igen’s self-description was pretty loaded down with the technical aspects of their business. That’s a nice thing to see. Pity they’re gone.

Dragonara.net

Dragonara: A host with a name like a World of Warcraft server, and an about blurb with such adorable syntax we challenge you to read it without a Swiss accent in your head.
Dragonara center is located in the heart of Switzerland, near to Geneva CERN where actually the Internet has been invented.
Yes! Near to Geneva CERN, where Internet having been invented. Amazed that their proximity to the LHC didn’t bring in more business.

GigHoste

Here’s our question, was GigHost taken, or were the owners trying to evoke the rustic webhosts of the 18th century? Doesn’t matter now!

AgileHosting

Clearly they weren't agile enough. Next!

CAWebHost

Here’s what you see when you view the front page of this website.
1. CAWebHost: We’ve got you covered!
2. CLOSED!
3. Thanks to everyone for your business!
So many exclamation marks! So much enthusiasm! And it’s gone. Sidenote: We get that it’s California WebHost, but dammit it we don’t want to believe that it’s supposed to be CAW Web Hosting, the first hosting provider by, for and of birds.

HostDedi

Hey! HostDedi.co.uk is available, and HostDedi.com is on a GoDaddy parking page! All you unrepentant scalpers enterprising young professionals should hop in and make it yours! You could be the next unsuccessful webhost! Yes, you!

It goes without saying.. choose your next webhost wisely! 

Web Hosting

DigiPLUS Assumes Assets of BurstNet, Relocates Main Data Center

Tue, 1st April 2014, 21:35

The DigiPLUS Company announced today that it has assumed the assets and client contracts of Web Hosting and Internet Solutions provider BurstNET. The new management company has relocated one of its three data centers from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Charlotte, North Carolina.

(Editor's note: it appears that when HostJury interviewed BurstNET client satisfaction specialist Art Faccone last week, he failed to mention that BurstNET clients were in for a shock this week. Oversight. Perhaps.. a lapse in memory.. maybe)  Continuing on with the 'for immediate release' document...

"Assuming the assets of BurstNet illustrates our commitment to providing a broader product portfolio, new technology and applications expertise to better serve BurstNET clients,” says JW Ray, CEO of DigiPLUS. “Although moving a data center presents challenges in the short term, we will now be able to offer the capacity for growth and peace of mind of a world-class infrastructure. We are working 24/7 to minimize any disruptions in service.”

The new data center has earned a Tier 3 rating as a highly redundant location with eight carriers and three times the bandwidth capacity of BurstNET’s former data center location in Pennsylvania. DigiPLUS also utilizes data centers in Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California.

“Our DigiPLUS team is dedicated to delivering the reliability and dependability each and every client deserves,” says Art Faccone, Senior Vice President of Client Care for DigiPLUS. “Current and future clients will be better served by our more complete, stable and secure global product offering."

The acquisition enhances BurstNET’s Dedicated Server, VPS, Colocation, Backup Storage, and Cloud Computing portfolios. The BurstNET brand will transition to the DigiPLUS name over the next few months.

Additional executive team members have been brought on to assist in the transition. They include Brandon Dorsey as Vice President of Finance and Arthur Cote as Vice President of Operations.

Don't these optimistic press releases always sounds great! Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Clients of BurstNET.. soon to be DigiPLUS clients can sound off here.

About BurstNET

BurstNET Technologies, Inc. is a worldwide leader in Web Hosting and Internet Solutions. It currently hosts 10,000+ Dedicated Servers and Colocated machines, 20,000+ Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and millions of websites.

 

Herolocity Comes to Save… the Day?

Wed, 26th March 2014, 12:25

So there are two things to notice about Herolocity, formerly Inerol Solutions, and its new website. The first is they are really enamored with their superhero. One assumes he is Herolocity Man, with the power of affordable reseller hosting, and not at all a freakishly muscled The Flash© copyright violation.

Secondly, the service has more awards bling than the best film at Cannes. Just look at this gorgeous banner.

Screenshot of the webhost Herolocity homepage showing bling icons 

Of course… is any of it true? We can’t seem to find Inerol Solutions or Herolocity (or Herolocity Man, even!) on WebHostingCat, or TenHostingReviews, which is a pay-to-play site in the first place. We sure as hell don’t know what 2013 Best Website Builder is an award from, but Herolocity clearly earned it, we suppose. They are technically one of the Hottest Hosts of 2014 according to WHIR, but that’s in the Vendor section, so Arvixe these guys ain't. The effect of the website’s front page is just a bit unsettling, altogether, mainly because it’s the only information you can find on the damn site on the entire internet. Seriously, there’s not a review to be found. It’s like they’re the world’s most exclusive club. Does anyone actually have an account with them?

They certainly have a lot of fans on Facebook! 4,500+, to be exact… over four thousand hip young 18-24 year olds… none of whom seem visible, or are interacting with the nearly empty page in any way. It’s almost sad. Half of the posts have a single like, and it’s from Herolocity itself. So between the astroturfed award cabinet, the utter dearth of reviews and the nonexistent Facebook following, is there anyone who actually knows something about Herolocity?

Well, we have a couple clues. The website is registered to Superhero Scramble LLC, which has a mess of connections to other corporations, but the founder and president of ‘Inerol Solutions’ is a man by the name of Robert Nikic. Funnily enough, Herolocity might not have any reviews on the internet, but Mr. Nikic sure does!  A sampling...

“He starts by making multiple false claims. He's been reported before for fake hosting services and listing.

He's also keen now on paying classified spammers to list him in areas he isn't and spoof unsuspecting web clients into purchasing his services. Instead of getting the site they order, he leaves them with a crap site they have already paid for and some. Since it is a "service" paypal is unable to refund their payments. Since it is across state borders, they are unable to get a solid judgement. In short, he dupes people into giving him money for crap with no way of recovering.

We made multiple attempts with this spammer to have him stop spamming our local market. Instead of obliging, he simply upped his spam to 4-5 spam ads a day. At this point, we have no choice but to share with the world what a scam artist and fake he is.”

Now, this is a pretty harsh perspective, but the pieces certainly all fit together. It would certainly behoove no one to sign up for hosting with a website with absolutely internet presence, and wannabe hosts- the kind of guys who do pull this stuff, spamming the hell out of entire markets, selling unfinished ‘services’ and generally just wasting your time and money- do exist.

And that’s when the real value of webhosting reviews can come in. The system isn't perfect (even with us removing numerous astroturfed reviews), and customers can be finicky- slight changes can seriously impact a host’s reputation, more out of the frustration of its users than a legitimate failure on its part, but it’s the presence that is so vital. At least if somebody is claiming the support is slow, they’re acknowledging that the service is giving them something real in the first place.

We’re not sure if Herolocity is truly the Number One Host of 2017, or if they’re just a front for obnoxious scammers and spammers looking to make a quick buck. Just remember to look before you leap. Herolocity Man won’t always be there to save you.

 

JaguarPC Welcomes HostingZoom Customers.. didn't this happen years ago?

Tue, 25th March 2014, 15:01

So last month JaguarPC welcomed HostingZoom users into the fold, with the announcement of the consolidation of the two brands. HostingZoom was to be absorbed and its users migrated. Everything is above the boards, of course, which doesn't make this a particularly interesting story, until you realize that JaguarPC owner Landis Holdings Inc. actually acquired HostingZoom back in 2008. No, really. We even ran an article on it.

Consolidation, or, Being the Littler Fish 

So that’s interesting. Consolidation is the name of the hosting game right now, and the article specifically mentions the desire to ‘put on the brakes’ to avoid upsetting any particularly finicky HostingZoom customers, but… six years?

No one seems to be making a fuss, and JaguarPC’s reputation is good all around, so we figured this might be an interesting flipside to some of the catastrophes we see with regards to acquisitions on HostJury- a look into a smooth transition and the nuts and bolts of making two business work well together.

So we dropped a line to Zachary McClung, Chief Customer Officer at JaguarPC, asking him what his perspective on the delay was.

There were multiple reasons for the brands staying separate. 

First, a company being bought out can be very traumatic for customers. You've seen the horror stories on different forums. Look at the issues HostGator clients have run into since EIG purchased them. Clients gradually warming up to the Jag way as we like to call it was important. It would create the least amount of frustration for clients and it paid off.

Second, each brand had their target market from Hosting Zoom being metered hosting, Jag being unlimited and Reseller Zoom being affordable reseller hosting. When marketing to those demographics it was helpful to have separate sites.

Over the last couple of years Hosting Zoom clients were warming up and even purchasing products from our different brands on their own. It just become a natural evolution to begin streamlining the brands into one. We've really had a great response to the client bases coming together and the revamping of the product offerings. We are excited for the transition and what we will be able to bring a unified client base in the future.

Traumatic indeed. The problem with fast consolidation time, as with the aforementioned horror story of mega-host Endurance International Group gobbling up HostGator, swapping data centers, and spitting out something… vaguely resembling a webhost, is twofold. One is a change in features. As creatures of habit, especially for something as complex as hosting, having a process and a system that works is something very important. Changing that process is an invitation for disaster, even if the new features are relatively equivalent, or sometimes even superior.

The second problem is a simple lack of support. Support is the front line of anything technical, especially hosting, and it shouldn’t be surprising that individual companies have individual support teams scaled to the size, pace and nature of the operation at hand. A merger can mean a change in workload, in priorities and even in culture, and when this causes that front line to crumble, it can be disastrous, taking all the little problems of the transition and blowing them way out of proportion.

JagPC isn't without change. They've recently launched a new website, expanded the product offerings to include Cloud web hosting, and they've added a Solid-State-Drive (SSD) options to their VPS line of products. As can be expected there has been some chatter of individual frustrations with support on JaguarPC from old HostingZoom/ResellerZoom clients. What we can see, however is that the philosophy practiced here is basically solid. Consolidation can be responsible if it’s done slowly and organically. You don’t grow a business overnight. You can’t cobble one together in that time frame, either.

How will the full merger pan out? If you’re a JaguarPC customer (editor's note: includes the newly merged HostingZoom clients too!), we’re counting on you to find out. Leave a review sharing how you’re feeling with the changes!

Art Faccone: Overseer of BurstNET dedicated CSS (Client Satisfaction Specialist)

Fri, 21st March 2014, 16:39

Burst.NET is making moves, and the direction is customer satisfaction. Newly appointed CEO JW Ray recently stated that "we have uncovered many areas that BurstNET can significantly improve and set the industry standard for client care and one small step that we are taking immediately is to assign all clients a dedicated CSS (Client Satisfaction Specialist). Central to this movement is new VP of Client Care, Art Faccone. We sat down with Mr. Faccone to discuss the new direction of Burst.net, and how his initiatives will help the company connect with its clientbase in new and innovative ways, as well as how the nature of social media and all the interconnectedness it brings has affected the businesses in the hosting industry and elsewhere.

HJ: Your new post at Burst.net comes after two decades in management. What excites you the most about this next step in your career?

Art: What excites me most is that Burst.NET is a great company that has hard-working, dedicated employees and loyal clients. What was missing was client focus, direction and process. I am excited to help to implement these changes, because once we have achieved true client focus the sky is truly the limit for Burst.NET and our clients.

HJ: You’ll be heading up the launch of a new portal for Burst.net’s thousands of clients. Tell us more about this new feature and how it will benefit end-users.

Art: Without a doubt our support portal at support.burst.net is undergoing an exciting transformation. We want this portal to be our client’s go-to location for up to date network status and technical assistance. The first step in this transformation is already in place, we have included a LIVE WebTeach Technical Support link. Clients can log into a Live WebTeach session and ask our Technical Specialists a question instantly between 9:00am and 5:00 pm Eastern Time. Gaining access to our Technical Experts has never been easier.

HJ: Included in this is the creation of a ‘Premier Client Council’, something of a representative system for the clients of Burst.net. How will clients participate, and what’s the goal of this initiative?

Art: The Burst.NET Premier Client Council is a group of clients designed to ensure that our growth strategy is in complete alignment with the goals of our clients. Clients on this Council are selected to ensure all sizes and flavors of client are represented. We are currently in the process of forming the Council. Once it has been established we will have quarterly meetings to gather client feedback and vet our growth strategy to ensure that are plans align with our clients’ needs.

HJ: Building off of this, as a professional in client care, what has it been like watching the rise of social media and its impact on client-provider relationships? What are some of the challenges it presents?

Art: The rise of social media has certainly changed the nature of communication as it relates to client-provider relationships, and in my opinion it has changed it for the better. Social media has given an equal voice to each and every client, which can be wonderful, but if things aren’t going well it can be challenging and a little bit scary. Today, an upset client paying a few dollars/month has the ability to voice their displeasure to the masses and severely impact your business. But I like this transparency. If anyone is unhappy, I want to know about it so we can address it. We aren’t perfect, but we make every effort to address issues head on and hold ourselves accountable for our clients’ success and happiness. And once an issue has been addressed and a client is ecstatic with the level of service they receive, social media can be your best friend.

HJ: Share with us some of your goals at Burst.NET. What are the ideal outcomes for the future?

Art: Our goal is to ensure that EVERY client, regardless of size, is extremely satisfied with Burst.NET. We want our clients to be with us for the long haul and I want them to be excited to recommend Burst.NET to their friends. If we maintain our focus on these goals, our clients, resellers and employees will all enjoy great success.

HJ: Finally, do you have any advice for the young professionals entering your field right now?

Art: Regardless of the Service field you are working in, you build (or rebuild) a reputation one client at a time. Every client interaction is a golden opportunity to understand their perspective, identify potential issues, make their lives easier and improve the client experience for all of your clients. The faster you create these interactions and foster these relationships the sooner you will be successful.

In conclusion

JW Ray said "At the end of the day, Art’s responsibility is to ensure that we are the client satisfaction thought leader and provide the best client service available.” BurstNET clients can share how well BurstNET is living up to that commitment by reviewing their experiences here.

About BurstNET

BurstNET Technologies, Inc.™ is a world-wide leader in Web Hosting and Internet Solutions. The privately held company, based in North-Eastern Pennsylvania, services clientele in over 100 countries around the world. BurstNET® began in 1991 as a computer hardware/software retail firm and distributorship. Shortly after incorporating in late 1996, the company quickly made the transition to providing Internet services. BurstNET® established itself in the industry prior to the explosion of the Web Hosting market. The company has experienced exceptional growth and currently hosts 10000+ Dedicated Servers and Co-located machines, 20000+ Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and millions of websites.

BurstNET sale banner

A closer look at Media Temple's new premium WordPress platform

Tue, 18th March 2014, 18:27

MediaTemple launched their new, premium WordPress platform just recently. It can be a dicey thing rolling out a new service that caters to higher level clientele. The demand is lower and the price points are higher. We decided to reach out to Dante Baker, Shared Services Product Manager, to get his appraisal of what makes MT’s new offering so enticing to consumers. Regardless, the Wordpress CMS market is only going to continue to grow so we’ll see in time if MediaTemple can carve out a bigger slice in this expanding niche.

HJ) Tell us a bit about Media Temple, and what led to this new premium WordPress platform.

Dante: Media Temple is a Los Angeles-based company providing premium web hosting and cloud services to web designers, developers, digital entrepreneurs and innovators. Media Temple was founded in 1998 on the premise of hosting our customers' great ideas, and we have been the hosting choice of creative professionals ever since. Over 125,000 people and businesses in 100 countries rely on our easy-to-use tools for web hosting, one-click WordPress installs, virtual servers, domain registration, business applications, and other cloud services to power 1.5 million websites. Our premium service model combined with our scalable technology allows us to focus on delivering only exceptional quality products and best-in-class, award-winning 24/7/365 customer support.

Having been a leading provider of WordPress hosting for years, we leveraged our long-time involvement with the Open Source community to bring that highly flexible and scalable WordPress hosting solution web developers and designers were demanding – i.e. a WordPress-specific managed hosting product.

HJ) WordPress and other CMS’s are rapidly gaining in popularity. What is it about the technology that’s so uniquely valuable to consumers?

Dante: It relates to one simple concept. Ease of use and customizability. We've seen this before in the web site creation world going back to products like FrontPage (Microsoft), Dreamweaver (Adobe), Moveable Type, etc. When it comes down to it, we all want a quick and easy way to create our online presence, and that market has traditionally been in the realm of website templates. CMSs like WordPress allow for that quick and easy setup, but also allow users to customize their site so that the person or organization can also impress their own unique soul into the site.

HJ) What sets MediaTemple’s hosting platform apart from its competitors? The landing page tells us about a ‘product roadmap full of exciting improvements to come’. What are some of these improvements?

Dante: Some of the improvements include enhancing what we already have in production, and additional features.

One enhancement surrounds our site templating, or site copy feature. Many of our users often talk about having a standard build that they start from when creating a site. So, for example, one developer may have a certain theme and four plugins that they use when creating an ecommerce site, a site for lawyers, or musicians. Currently, you can copy an existing site and we'll capture the theme and plugins minus the website content, and allow you to then tailor a new site for a new client. Next up will be the ability to save that template and simply deploy it at will. So we're looking to make that workflow quicker and easier.

One of the many features we'll be implementing surrounds role-based account management and website creation. Often times you may want to add additional developers or key business stakeholders into the creative process, and we want to not only make that possible, but also make it easy.

Then, there are a more features that we'll be implementing that not will only help the developer but also the end user who doesn't manage multiple WordPress sites as well. Keep an eye out for that!

HJ) Building from this, could you share with us some of the insights and solutions MediaTemple has gained from its experience with WordPress hosting, and how they’re being applied to this new platform?

Dante: Whether it be from a support standpoint, engineering, or even UX, we've definitely learned a lot. Being able to scale is huge, knowing the difference in potential exploit vectors, how to handle WP-cron in a clustered environment, keeping giving back to and participating in the WordPress community, etc. The lessons we've learned not only apply to features and hardware that are tangible, but also flow into a deeper understanding of the philosophy behind the Open Source project itself.

HJ) What are some of the biggest problems end users run into with WordPress? How does MediaTemple help them navigate these issues, and what new opportunities does the Premium service offer for overcoming these challenges?

Dante: We can talk about this for a while, and it's mainly due to the fact that users always find an innovative way to get things completed that you may not have thought of, or may not understand certain aspects of the product that will make their life easier. To give a more general answer, our goal is to help users spend more time concentrating on content than on pain points, and WordPress is a great vehicle to do that because it's so extensible. So while we continue to deliver on ease of use and managed all things WP hosting for them, the user can create content and then go snowboarding, surfing, hiking, video games, TV, yoga, or just enjoy some family time.

Conclusion

Well it would be hard to argue with more time for surfing, hiking, video games, TV, yoga, or even the family time… snowboarding meh.. maybe its just been too long a winter for those not fortunate enough to be hanging out in LA! Media Temple clients can review the new premium WordPress platform here.

About Media Temple (mt)

Since Media Temple began in 1998, we’ve been on a mission to help web developers, designers, digital entrepreneurs, and innovators bring their ideas to life online. In 15 years, we’ve seen a lot of technology trends come and go. But one thing has never changed: our commitment to our customers’ success. It’s what drives us to offer the best web hosting service and support available anytime, anywhere.

Today, our premium web hosting and cloud services power more than 1.5 million websites in 100 different countries. Over 125,000 people and businesses rely on our simple tools for web hosting, one-click WordPress installs, virtual servers, domain registration, business applications, and other cloud services. From everyday people to top bloggers, creative professionals, and businesses small and large, we make it easy for anyone to have an effective, engaging Internet presence. 

Dan Thompson and Paula Brett: The faces behind D9 Hosting

Wed, 5th March 2014, 17:13

Dan Thompson comes from a farming background and has been working as an online entrepreneur since the late 1990s. Paula Brett trained and worked as a successful TV, Radio and Theatre actress for a number of years before moving abroad to sample life in a different country, running a restaurant and nightclub. How exactly did such diverse paths cross, and lead to a partnership in the UK web hosting firm D9 Hosting?

While Dan Thompson and Paula Brett were always confident D9 Hosting could become a successful small business, they could never have predicted the growth that was to follow. D9 Hosting has gone from having a handful of local web design clients, to hosting tens of thousands of websites for clients in over 50 countries. Dan Thompson took the time to describe a bit about what goes on behind the scenes at D9, and what he and Paula have learned during their years of webhosting.

HJ) D9 Hosting prides itself on its unlimited plans: unlimited domains, space, bandwidth- You’ve said that D9 began out of frustration at available hosting providers. Were arbitrary usage caps a part of that?

Dan: When we first started D9 Hosting back in 2007 “Unlimited” hosting plans were very much in their infancy and yet to saturate the market as they do today. Some of the bigger players back in the day were starting to drift towards the “Unlimited” model, but rather than selling the Disk Space and bandwidth as “Unlimited” they would put huge, unrealistic, arbitrary usage caps on the Disk Space and Bandwidth, but in the main, most of the Web Hosts that we were looking to compete with still had realistic usage caps.

Our frustration with providers didn’t come from their Disk Space and Bandwidth limits, but with the network quality and customer service that we were receiving from them. Servers and networks would be going down on a weekly basis and the most basic of Customer Service requests would go unanswered for days. We figured that if these companies were able to get business by providing a shoddy service, then surely we’d be able to take some customers from them if we could provide a more stable hosting experience with top quality customer support.

Going back to the arbitrary usage part of the question, when we originally launched D9 Hosting we did so with just a single hosting plan. Rather than try to cover every aspect of the market (Shared, Reseller, VPS, Dedicated, etc) we provided a single Shared Hosting plan aimed at your average home or small business user and decided to focus all of our efforts on making that one plan the best it could possibly be. It allowed the customer to host unlimited domains on the one account (which was very much out of the norm back in 2007!) and provided them with 2 GB of disk space and 20 GB of bandwidth.

For the first couple of years this proved to be very successful, but as time moved on more and more of the bigger hosting players were moving to the “Unlimited” hosting model, and we found that whilst customers were more than happy with our service, a lot of them were leaving to these bigger “Unlimited” hosts as they were in the belief that they were going to be receiving a lot more resources than we were providing them with.

So in mid-2009 we took the tricky decision to join the competition in moving to the “Unlimited” business model. And whilst I’m sure many of your readers will turn up their nose at such a model, I think it’s important for any business to be able to adapt to market conditions and do what is needed to keep with the times. I can honestly say if we didn’t move to the “Unlimited” model when we did, then we may not be in business today.

HJ) Speaking of beginnings, D9 doesn’t have the most typical backstory. How exactly did the two of you become business partners, and what sparked the transition to webhosting?

Dan: Paula and I have known each other since late 2004. We actually met on an Internet Marketing forum where we were both Administrators.

Paula was working from home selling books on eBay whilst looking after her two young children, and I had just finished 4 years at College doing a Higher National Diploma in Business Information Technology. We were both looking for something different to do in the way of a job, and found ourselves on the previously Mentioned Internet Marketing forum providing basic Web Design and Script Installation Services to members who were uncomfortable with the technical side of things - this is where we both got our first taste of the terrible service that some Hosting Providers were able to get away with!

Providing our own Web Hosting Service was something we had often spoken about whilst we were both finding it hard going dealing with uncooperative Web Hosts and in 2007 we decided to put our heads together and go for it.

At the time (and still to this day), the entry costs to the Web Hosting market were very low, it’s not unrealistic to say that anybody sat in their bedroom today with a spare $100 could go out and start their own Web Hosting business….that’s not to say they should, but it’s very low risk financially, so we decided we had nothing to lose and in the Summer of 2007 D9 Hosting was born!

HJ) We like to get a feel for corporate philosophy in these profiles- what goes into leading a company and growing a business. What would you say is the corporate philosophy of D9 Hosting?

Dan: Our philosophy is the same today as it was back in 2007 – provide the best levels of service that you possibly can. If you can provide better levels of service than the competition then you should be able to not only take customers from them, but also retain them as clients for years to come.

HJ) What does the future hold for D9? In your bios, it mentions that you could’ve never predicted the runaway success of the site. Are there big plans for growth in the future?

Dan: I’m always slightly nervous when I hear about companies in any sector that come out with phrases like “big plans for future growth”. I think a lot of companies try and grow too big too quickly and whilst it may result in a nice cash windfall for the directors it normally goes hand in hand with service levels deteriorating.

This is very much the case in the Hosting World, almost overnight you could see who you previously thought were rock solid providers getting a lot of negative feedback about service levels deteriorating and in the main, this is due to those providers not having the infrastructure (in terms of network and/or staffing) to be able to cope with the big growth that they’ve been aiming for.

With D9 Hosting we have seen a more gradual growth over the years, mainly due to our high customer retention rate along with word of mouth getting out about the quality of the service we can provide. Whilst we are obviously a lot bigger than we when first started out, the gradual customer base growth has allowed us to gradually grow our own infrastructure at the same pace which has helped us to grow without sacrificing service levels.

I’m a firm believer in “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”, so our plans for the future are simply to keep doing what we are doing!

HJ) Another topic HostJury focuses on is consolidation. D9 is a sizeable host in its own regard, but some of the biggest names in hosting are acquiring like there’s no tomorrow. Is this a possibility for D9? If not, what makes independence so important to you two and your team?

Dan: Whilst it’s very kind of you to suggest it, I’d say it’s highly unlikely we’ll be getting a $300m takeover offer any time soon!

Neither myself nor Paula have any current plans to part ways with D9 Hosting, we still enjoy the day to day running of the company and would struggle to find something else to pass the time; I’d pick helping a client with an obscure Server issue over sipping Cocktails on a Beach any day….probably!!

It’s not so much the independence that is important to us, but more the knowing that you have built something from the ground up that has gone on to be a success. It’s almost like having your own child and watching it grow over the years; sometimes you’ll love it and sometimes you’ll hate it but it’s ultimately still your creation and it’d be very difficult to give it away to someone else!

HJ) We’d like to hear a little bit about each of your histories with hosting. Can you pinpoint an individual success that has really stayed with you throughout your career?

Dan: I think it would have to be the very first sale we ever made. When we first started out we honestly didn’t know if we’d ever get a single customer so when we both saw that first sale come in we were over the moon.

I actually kept the “Order Confirmation” email we received from that very first order, it came in on the 13th May 2007 and it was for the grand total of $35.85. If that sale didn’t come in, then who knows what we would both be doing today.

HJ) And in that vein, can you share an example of a failure or a setback that you learned an important lesson from?

Dan: I can think of quite a lot! If you’re going to start your own business then setbacks are one thing you need to accept, it doesn’t matter how good you are, how much planning you have in place, eventually something will happen to give you a good old kick in the nuts!

I can think of a few fairly big hardware failures we’ve had over the years, but these are par for the cause in the Hosting world and you do end up learning a lot from them, but the one thing that I think set us back more than anything was taking advice from a 3rd party when I knew in my head that it was really the wrong thing to do.

I can’t remember the exact year, but it was probably sometime around 2010 and we were having issues with our then Datacenter, so we were looking to move elsewhere.

When doing the costing for a move we found that a lot of our servers were underutilized and we were advised we would save quite a lot of money in both hardware and licensing costs if we were to virtualize our servers.

So for the example, if we previously had 12 servers all underutilized, we’d purchase 3 or 4 powerful nodes and move those 12 servers into a Virtualized environment.

At that point my experience with Virtualized environments was quite limited, but I knew enough to see that we would potentially run into CPU bottleneck issues.

I voiced my concerns to our “expert” but was reassured things would be fine, but almost from the word go we were seeing performance issues with the new set up that no amount of server tweaking was going to fix. This, coupled with the “expert” miscalculating how much disk space each of these Virtualized environments would need meant that for the first time in our history, we didn’t actually feel comfortable taking on new customers since we didn’t have the infrastructure in place to deliver the level of service we wanted.

We soon ditched the Virtualization and moved all customers back onto Dedicated Hardware but this whole process set us back a good 6 months, if not more.

The lesson learned is to always trust your own judgement, by all means take advice from others but at the end of the day it’s your business that is on the line, so you need to be the one making the final decisions.

HJ) What advice would you give to a pair of young webhosts starting their venture today?

Dan: Try to be different!

The hosting market today is much more saturated than when we first started out, so it’s much harder to get your foot in the door so you’d need to come up with something to make you stand out from the competition.

As I mentioned in a previous answer, when we first started out we allowed customers to host unlimited domains on the one hosting account and whilst it’s very common now, back in 2007 we were one of only a few hosts to offer it and it made us stand out.

So it’s all about finding that USP that would give you the edge over all the other hosts out there. It’s also worth keeping up with the latest trends.

Take Minecraft as an example, when the bubble hit there was big demand for Minecraft Hosting Services, those that got in quickly managed to build up a good customer base in a relatively short amount of time. I personally think the Minecraft ship has already sailed, but who knows what could be lurking around the corner!

Conclusion 

So just how does a background in farming or acting and media prepare one for the world of webhosting? Possibly it doesn’t. For Dan and Paula, the road may have had it share of twists and turns but it was never just about the destination. Rather the journey itself that was important.

Melbourne IT strikes deal with Netregistry Group

Tue, 4th March 2014, 20:27

In churnator news, Melbourne IT has announced a Share Purchase Agreement to acquire Netregistry Group Limited for an enterprise value of $50.4 million. 

Peter Findlay, acting CEO of Melbourne IT says;

The proposed transaction will bring together two of Australia’s leading web-services businesses, generating significant benefits for customers, employees and shareholders of both companies. 

Larry Bloch, Founder and CEO of Netregistry Group adds:

This transaction validates the tremendous success the Netregistry team have had since 1997 in building a leading web services business. The merged entity will benefit from the leading products, management team and efficiency of both companies. I look forward to joining the board of Melbourne IT and being involved as the businesses are integrated, evolve and grow their services. 

The press release points out that all Netregistry systems will continue to be supported into the future and there will be no disruption to Netregistry Group customers.

Other Key Points 

  • Melbourne IT to acquire leading online services provider Netregistry Group for an enterprise value of $50.4 million in cash and scrip
  • Netregistry Group calendar 2013 normalised EBITDA was approximately $6 million
  • Annual cost synergies estimated at over $5 million by 2015
  • Larry Bloch, Founder & CEO of Netregistry Group to join the Melbourne IT Board
  • Netregistry’s high quality SMB-focused management team to join Melbourne IT
  • Transaction completion subject to regulatory approvals
Last year, Melbourne IT sold its corporate domain name and online brand services business division for $157.3 million. By acquiring Netregistry, Melbourne IT hopes to be better positioned to serve the small and medium business market.

 

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