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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.

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.

 

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

The Shining New Webhost Dead Pool

Tue, 4th March 2014, 15:01

For the first time in decades the Great Lakes are almost ice covered and in the Middle East the phrase Arab Spring has taken on new meaning. Some places are like people: some shine and some don`t. Feeling blue and tired can be a byproduct of winter. Yes I'm aware of that masochist minority who find a morbid sense of enjoyment in everything winter.. 2014 is surely one for the records that didn't disappoint.  Still, with the Farmers Almanac calling for more of the same in the month of March, an increasingly disproportionate segment of the population is suffering from cabin fever. Not exactly the climate that would explain the demise of so many web hosting firms.

I believe it was Jack Torrance from the hosting outfit Redrum who was quoted as saying:

Have you ever had a SINGLE MOMENT'S THOUGHT about my responsibilities? Have you ever thought, for a single solitary moment about my responsibilities to my clients? Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the web presence until May the FIRST. Does it MATTER TO YOU AT ALL that the OWNERS have placed their COMPLETE CONFIDENCE and TRUST in me, and that I have signed a letter of agreement, a CONTRACT, in which I have accepted that RESPONSIBILITY? Do you have the SLIGHTEST IDEA, what a MORAL AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLE IS, DO YOU? Has it ever occurred to you what would happen to my future, if I were to fail to live up to my responsibilities? Has it ever occurred to you? HAS IT?

Johnny sounds stressed but sometimes we overlook the obvious. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure so let’s see who's gushing blood in the latest HostJury dead pool!

WGOHosting

Straight-up getting auctioned off (the domain at least) for $600. Ten years of hosting and it all comes down to this. It’s like an elegant allegory for marriage. If you’re thinking of imping a webhost, though- now’s your chance! You’ll get all of the brand recognition of… you know, WGOHosting. 

The Simple Host

The Simple Host Ltd has ceased trading as of 28th January 2014. If you have questions regarding a service you held with us, please contact... thesimplehost@gmail.com

A tragic end for a service with such a modest name. Notice, at the end of that message, a very smart tactic used by the webhosts of The Simple Host Limited to prevent spammers from acquiring their Gmaill address.

UCVHost

The cream of the crap this month, UCVHost is a perfect depiction of what it’s like when a promoter bails. A Delhi-based company, UCV had its backend contracted to Softlayer, and when things got too tough for founder Rajat Khanna, he vanished, leaving behind only this page.

Screenshot of UCVHost homepage 

SoftLayer, for their part, explained that the service was terminated by Mr. Khanna himself, and so everyone’s data is gone! Look for Khanna’s mugshot in The Hindu Business Line soon!

VS-HS

VS-HS has been serving hosting customers with reliable web hosting since October, 2005. VS-HS mission is to provide reliable and affordable Web hosting services with great customer support by applying VS-HS experience and technical skills. VS-HS believe that all customers have different requirements and therefore listen to each and every one of them. Alas we finally got tired of listening.

Waveweb

There’s so little on Waveweb available on google the search engine basically just assumes you’re looking for Wavelab, an audio editor. Wavelab can’t restore the data you may have lost in the death of Waveweb, but it is still working, at least.

Servers.co.in

Servers.co.in is the world's leader in reliable and affordable dedicated server and VPS hosting solutions. If we had a dime for every time a ‘world leader’ in the hosting industry bit the dust, we still couldn’t buy a month of hosting with Servers.co.in. Because they’re dead and buried.

Rackbyte

Get this- Rackspace is getting hammered so hard in the markets by CEO Lanham Napier’s resignation that even their knockoff websites are going out of business. Ouch.

Saltire Hosting

You probably have a couple questions: one, who the hell is Saltire Hosting, and two, what the hell is a Saltire? Well let me tell you. A Saltire is the diagonal cross, the heraldric symbol on the blue and white flag of Scotland, representative of the cross St. Andrew was crucified upon. Saltire Hosting? We’d tell you, but they don’t exist anymore.

Urgent Host

Urgent Host didn’t last the month, which probably has something to do with their niche of NEEDING A WEBHOST URGENTLY. SERIOUSLY. JUST THROW YOUR CREDIT CARD AT THE SCREEN, WE’LL TAKE CARE OF THE REST.

Sanga Hosting

A new and honestly well-received hosting service, Sanga Hosting doesn’t seem to have made it a full two years. Better to go out on top than live to hit the bottom, right? We’re sure everyone hosted by Sanga totally agrees.

SLU Web Services

I love the way these guys shut down. SORRY BUT WE ARE NO LONGER OPERATING. Block letters on the front page. It’s very sudden. I wonder if a webhost has ever shut down with a screamer?

SoloHost

Frozen in carbonite. Note that while UK provider SoloHost.org is gone, alojamiento web Solo-Host.com vivirá para siempre! Jajajajaja!

UZR Hosting

So, 2HostU (which was a provider, not a tech-themed boy band) was acquired and became Pluto Hosting, which was then acquired again to become UZR Hosting, which has now gone defunct. And they say change is good.

Wiz Web Hosting

Wiz Web Hosting is dead, but what’s more interesting than that is their only review, by a man named Leland, who was apparently unable to register a domain at all. This review is interesting because despite not being able to do anything, Leland gave them 3 stars, which is just about the most generous thing we’ve ever heard.

This deadpool’s for you, Leland. Researching a new web host. Choose wisely and read the reviews!

Web Hosting

Gazing into the Rackspace Crystal Ball

Thu, 27th February 2014, 16:07

All is not well at Rackspace.

That much is certain, and frankly, it’s an understatement. CEO Lanham Napier’s untimely exit added injury to injury, and the depth of that injury is revealed by the markets: RAX took a dive to the tune of 18% after the announcement.

The loss of Napier comes at an awkward period for Rackspace, to say the least. After a relatively positive fourth quarter in 2013, the hosting giant showed signs of growth, necessary in the face of a long term decline. The retirement has undone that, and raised further questions about the stability and direction of a company beleaguered by the market and its competitors.

But what exactly has Rackspace on the ropes? We looked at this in an earlier article: the Cloud Hosting Price War, where we examined the impact of the juggernauts of hosting using their massive infrastructure to outcompete less… shall we say, financially deft companies. The writing was on the wall when Rackspace announced it wouldn't compete with the drastically lower prices, not because they couldn't, but rather because ‘lower prices don’t necessary mean lower costs’. Nice marketing judo, there.

And if the writing was on the wall then, the die is cast now. The departure of Napier leaves the company in the hands of new CEO/old CEO Graham Weston. Weston, as well as some analysts, focused on the positive growth of 2013, with higher revenue ($408.1 million, up 15.6%) if lower net income. The focus of all this doubt over growth is inevitably the divide between dedicated and public cloud options. Weston’s perspective is clear, “The future is dedicated,” he was quoted as saying, and so towards dedicated the ship sails.

Weston’s logic feels shaky. By the end of the quarter, Rackspace had 103,886 servers deployed, and was making $1,322 in monthly revenue per server – up just under one percent year-over-year. Certainly not a shady number by any metric and one that won’t go unnoticed by Rackspace’s salivating competitors. Anyone even remotely following the dedicated server market is well aware of the shakeup that has dedicated server prices plummeting to new lows.

The expanding market favors accessibility, despite any arguments of Rackspace’s PR department to the contrary, in the same way that consumers favor price, and not general notions of ‘ease of spending prediction’, as one marketer put it.

Indeed, the Rackspace strategy thus far has seemed to be something of a marketing blitz- with around $2m a year poured into a brand campaign. A shame, then, that their most public event in recent memory is the loss of Lanham Napier, who is remaining on for a few months as a consultant.

Time will tell the future of Rackspace, but things look dicey from here. It’s not merely that they've lost a CEO, it’s that they've for the time being failed to gain a new one. The direction of the past couple years has not been promising, and investors can’t be blamed for become somewhat uncomfortable without the assurance of innovation- now or in the near future.

In the cloud hosting market it’s not only AWS that Rackspace has to fear. Microsoft and Google are more than well-funded competitors, and the designs of other big names like Oracle and HP should prove troubling for Rackspace’s market share at a bare minimum. The list of well funded, established companies in the dedicated server market seeking a piece of Rackspace's meal ticket is notably longer. We’ll keep following this story as the year progresses.

OVH loyalty program created headaches. Ingenuity creates solutions

Thu, 20th February 2014, 16:24

A while back, Europe's second largest webhost OVH came up with an interesting plan to reward customer loyalty. It goes like this: if you've been with OVH for long enough for the company to have added newer, faster servers to their datacenters, you can rent up- improving your service without increasing cost. In fact, as some customers noted in the OVH company forum, the deals on some of the new technology actually outstripped the older servers, comparatively. It's a solid plan that says something positive about the OVH as a whole- a reinvestment in existing customers instead of a more ravenous strategy of growth.

There's just one problem, of course: turnover. After all, who could resist such a great deal? It worked better than OVH had intended- while the system is workable if customers look to move up each 2-3 years, as the company grew they ran into clients ready to upgrade to the newest servers after less than half a year- soon they'd lined up so many customers they were forced to 'sell out', that is, stop taking new orders entirely while they whittled away at the current backlog of customers looking to upgrade and filled the servers that were now empty.

The logistics of this are difficult to picture. After all, you're dealing with exclusively pre-existing customers, this isn't representative of expansion. And yet the technical side of OVH is now pegged down as moving a sizable chunk of the customer base from the old servers to the new, with all the headaches that entails.

What's more, the exodus left the company with a bunch of empty servers- a whole bunch. And these are the old servers- rapidly growing obsolete with ever-improving technology.

It's something of a nightmare, but was it predictable? As some have noted, OVH prides itself on its four pledges: No installation fees, no long-term commitments, monthly payments and regular addition of features. The problem with this is that most of the new features went to the new servers, and combined with the lack of installation fees… why not upgrade? There seems to be no reason to hang on to hardware that is only decreasing in value as more options become available. Here, then, was OVH- in such an enviable market position with no ability to grow, at least for the time being, and increasingly unsatisfied customers looking to improve or expand their service!

But just as interesting as the conundrum itself is how OVH is dealing with the problem. First is their new loyalty program: long term customers get 1 free month on renewal after waiting 6 months, and 3 free months on renewal after waiting a full year. OVH also rolled out HubiC recently. The dramatically discounted cloud storage platform has pricing that should put more than a few of the old servers to good use. 

One wonders how effective these strategies will be at reducing (or eliminating!) turnover- while they should mitigate the problem, the core issue (the fundamental appeal of upgrading to better servers for competitive prices) remains.
 
If there’s anything OVH should take from this whole ordeal, it’s that business strategy is a long game indeed. It will be interesting to see how OVH continues to evolve in 2014.

 

iWeb Technologies Inc.

 

The case for SSLs.com vs SSL.com

Thu, 13th February 2014, 17:37

Okay, how much do you know about SSL providers? A lot? Great. Then you should probably know CheapSSLs.com, the Namecheap brand (guess the theme!) and you probably also know SSL.com (Short and sweet.)

Well, CheapSSLs, in the name of brevity, has now officially become SSLs.com! Not to be confused with SSL.com which happens to be a horse of a different color. For example, SSL.com’s motto is Trust In Everything We Do, which sounds pretty culty for a SSL certificate vendor when you think about it, whereas Cheap- I mean, SSLs.com’s motto is… they don’t have a motto. And that needs to be fixed, frankly. My suggestion? SSLs.com- We Used To Be Cheap. Beautiful. Someone translate that into Latin and send it to them.

We figured since the two providers are clearly in competition with each other, it might be worthwhile to compare the two, see how they stack up, all things considered. We’re going to try to be objective here, but wouldn’t it be awesome if they were absolutely the same? You could buy from one and not even realize it’s not the other. Some days they could just switch sites, and no one would be the wiser. We can only hope this is the case.

The Terms of Service

The first order of business is the terms of service- what are we getting into when we get into bed with one of these guys? It’s just data security, right? Shouldn’t be too intrusive.

SSL.com

When you use the Site, you accept the Terms of Use; if you do not agree to the Terms of Use you may not use the Site. SSL reserves the right to modify content on the Site and these Terms of Use periodically without prior notice.

Oh man, can you even do this? We had no idea. Quick update to the HostJury TOS, by the way- when you use the site, you agree to the terms. And the terms are… uh… $15 a month. Just paypal it to us. We’re easy like Sunday morning.

By submitting information, you grant SSL.com a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable right to reproduce, use, modify, publish, adapt, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display such content throughout the world in any media.

Also known as the Zuckerberg Clause!

SSLs.com

If we are sued or threatened with a lawsuit, an administrative proceeding or any other legal or administrative proceeding in connection with Service(s) provided to you, we may turn to you to indemnify us and to hold us harmless from the claims and expenses (including attorney's fees and court costs). Under such circumstances, you agree that you will, upon demand, obtain a performance bond with a reputable bonding company or, if you are unable to obtain a performance bond, that you will deposit money with us to pay for our reasonably anticipated expenses in relation to the matter for the coming year. Such deposit will be drawn down as expenses are incurred, with all account notices sent to the contact information provided in association with your account. We shall not be obliged to extend you any credit in relation to such expenses and we may terminate the Services for a failure to make or renew such a deposit. We will return any unused deposit upon the later of three (3) months from deposit or the conclusion of the matter.

Damn, these guys are not going down with your ship, illegal websites. We can’t really imagine an instance when this might come into play- especially considering the ‘or’ in the whole matter is the loss of your SSL certificate. The best part of the clause, though, is ‘reputable’ bonding company. If you get SSLs.com sued, no sending Dog the Bounty Hunter to their offices with a handful of benjamins and your old Chevy, no sir.

The Prices

Alright, so the next thing to consider is cost, of course. The major difference between the two sites is that while SSL.com offers a specific suite of options, SSLs.com is more a digital marketplace in which you can choose your brand (and price!). This should be easy to remember- the s is for plural.
Prices (yearly) on SSL.com range from $36 to $240, whereas SSLs.com goes all the way down to $9- that is, if all you’re looking for is an unspectacular Comodo PositiveSSL. No bells and whistles here (that green bar…) The extended validation options take you all the way up to $870! That’s VeriSign, of course. We’re pretty damn sure you get a green bar with that one (plus a $1.5 million warranty, which ain't half bad.)

The Verdict

As it is Hostjury's policy not to make recommendations (allowing instead users to do the recommending), we can not in good conscience deliver a verdict. But hypothetically speaking, with tongues in cheek of course, based on what we see here, if we were to deliver a verdict, we'd have to recommend SSLs.com, mainly for their wide variety of options, snazzy layout, and slightly less terrifying terms of service. Then again we did hear that InstantSSL is planning on changing their website to SSSL.com, so who knows what the future will bring.

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

Web Hosting deadpool. 2014 Flatliners edition

Wed, 12th February 2014, 15:46

January’s gone, it’s the dead of winter, and Punxsutawney Phil says there’s another six weeks of this stuff ahead. What better than throw another log on the fire and roast a few of the dearly departed webhosts in another hosting deadpool! These forgotten soldiers just barely crawled into the new year before being brutally snuffed out in 2014. So who’s the first dead of the year? Find out here!

PapaHost (papahost.co.uk)

Are you familiar with HostPapa? Yes? This segment is not about HostPapa, rather these erstwhile hosting minnow trying to capitalize on the name! Brand recognition, baby. It’s great, but apparently not great enough to save PapaHost from its inevitable patricide. Perhaps consumers were not quite as gullible as these parasites imagined. But hey, congratulations to the freeloading flunkies at PapaHost for winning HostJury’s coveted First Dead Doppelganger of the Year Award!

Orange Hosting (orangehosting.ca)

Oh! So close. A Small Orange these guys were not, and if only they’d expired the briefest moment sooner they’d have snagged that previous award! But they didn’t, and close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The world’s most depressing silver medal goes to Orange Hosting!

Nginx Hosting UK (That's nginx-hosting.co.uk)

How fast is your website? With Nginx Hosting we guarantee that your site will be faster on our servers than your current host or you get your hosting for free...

Critical Error
Could not connect to the database

But they will give you your hosting for free!

Once ranked by a competitor site as the 4th best Nginx hosting solution in the United Kingdom! Shows what they know. Bet they didn’t even call the Super Bowl for the Seahawks, which, by the way, we did.

Midpulse (midpulse.com)

From their service description:

One of MidPulse main strengths and focuses is to provide people and businesses of even of the lowest budgets with possibilities of creating these identities online.

We don’t know what’s funnier: the trainwreck of a sentence you just read or the modesty of naming your service ‘mid’ anything. MidPulse. For when HiPulse is frankly just too expensive. While it’s admirable to focus on people, it rings hollow when your own business is flailing.

Melonmelon.io (melonmelon.co)

Oh man, what a great name for a hosting service... Melonmelon. A French Canadian web hosting provider, we can only hope for a speedy resurrection as Melonmelonmelon.io. Third time may be the charm!

Rackify (rackify.net)

Rackify, having accomplished very little in their hosting career beyond coming up with the world’s most unoriginal name, has finally expired. We’d love to give you more information, but even their WHOIS information was protected.

Note:The whois Privacy Protection is enabled on this domain/no physical contact information on website. When contacted by HostJury, Rackify responded "We believe the contact us form is sufficient for pre-sales contact". 

In fairness, they did have the courtesy to actually respond!
In lieu of any actual information, we’re going to be forced to speculate that they were a front for North Korean money laundering and/or SPECTRE.

 

RiversHosting (rivershosting.com)

According to one forum, RiversHosting is currently in the process of transferring their users to HalfDollarHosting, which is a really encouraging name. Still, we have to give them props for not leaving clients up the creek without a paddle. RiversHosting is doing something other than poofing on their poor clients. Hopefully HalfDollarHosting can hold up their end of the bargain.

MegaCloud (megacloud.com) 

Gee, what is it with all these brand ripoff sites? Serves MegaCloud right- the FBI ended up raiding them because they assumed a connection to that pirating kingpin hack (well at least that’s what is alleged by some Hollywood types and their gobermint allies) Kim Dotcom.
 
Nah, just kidding. They took them out with a drone strike. Thanks, Obama.

 

HostDedi (hostdedi.co.uk)

I’m just going to sit right here and let you make the joke yourself.

MegaByteHosting (domain is for sale)

There’s some chatter about MBH’s closing having to do with the admin’s health issues, which is sad. 

Due to some serious health issues I have to shut down megabytehosting for at least a year. You are advised to get your files backed up immediately. Any clients that are on yearly plans or recently paid will be able to email us for your payment reimbursements.

I am very sad to do this because I put so much effort into MBH. Thanks for your loyalty and when I have recovered I will be back online.

With the nature of small-brand hosting we’re not sure whether to believe that or not. Regardless may he outlive his hosting service by decades and if MegaByte does resurrect, HostJury will be the first to write an article trumpeting the triumph of human spirit over adversity.

Researching a webhost for your baby.. choose wisely and read the reviews before you decide!

HostPapa 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

WP Engine looks to accelerate growth and innovation: Is it sustainable

Thu, 6th February 2014, 19:59

Another day, another multimillion dollar injection from private equity directly into the veins of the hosting industry. The latest lucky recipient of the partnership is WP Engine, the CMS giant whose growth has been courting the investors for a long time now. They struck a bargain with North Bridge Growth Equity, a VC firm noted for its high-tech open-source designs, to the tune of $15 million and a spot on WP Engine’s board. The goal of all the new financing? Massive growth with international themes, coming on the heels of WP Engine’s plan to expand into Europe next year.

Allons-y, we guess! Hey, at least they aren’t gobbling up startups like everyone else.

It’s fascinating to get into the nuts and bolts of the deal- specifically its history, the growth that brought all the financial suitors running in the first place. Speaking to TechCrunch, WP Engine CEO Heather Brunner confirmed the company’s 25% quarterly growth since year one, and with expansion like that (dating back to 2010) one has to wonder just what extrapolating all this success means for the company. More success? If they’re lucky.

Heather Brunner in a statement to HJ said: 

“We’re very excited about our partnership with North Bridge Growth Equity. Given their extensive background in open source we knew they were the best fit to help us build on our rapid growth in the market. As our customers depend on us to bring their content to the world, we’re eager to continue providing them with digital ease, assurance and confidence.  The funding comes at a time of explosive growth for WordPress, which is now the most popular content management system on the internet.” 

It is and always has been easy to get caught up in rapidity of growth. To analyze that we’d have to make some utterly laborious points about capitalism, spare us all, so instead let’s focus on the concept of the business- in this case a WordPress hosting provider as the vehicle, and all this rampant growth as the motion of the thing. Maybe this is all reductive, but just how fast can the engine run?

WP Engine’s success is a credit to its core elements, its team and its leadership. Its clockwork 25% quarterly growth is a testament to the expansion of the CMS, the digitization of publishing, the continued dawning of the era of social media and the primacy of WordPress. What it will do with fifteen million incentives to expand its grasp is another question entirely.

There’s no end to the loaded phrases that come with the discussion of rapid internet expansion, and we won’t indulge those notions here, but it’s an inescapable fact that there is a level of growth that’s healthy, and a level where historically less so. 

Back in 2012, upon discontinuing their marketing program, industry veteran ICDSoft posted an extremely thoughtful blog post on this very subject.

“We believe that each business has a ‘critical mass’ - a certain size of the company, beyond which it becomes difficult to maintain the same level of service. More customers and employees leads to the requirement for more complicated company structures and procedures, and it is usually the customer who suffers because of the scale of the provider.”

Usually the customer who suffers. And there’s going to be 25% more of those customers at the end of this quarter, don’t you imagine? Of course, there’s always the complete possibility that the market will continue to grow and that all these new structures will be supported with the same level of care that got WP Engine into this position to begin with.

There’s also the opportunity that in 2 years they’ll be primed to sell to a bigger fish. Anything could happen, after all. (Editor's note: HostJury is hopeful for our own interview with WP Engine's Heather Brunner).

Thoughts? Clients of WP Engine can share their experiences here. 

Checking out the Revamped Namecheap

Tue, 4th February 2014, 17:55

Big things are happening at NamecheapYou can see it in the design of the website alone: the place is practically rebuilt from the ground up. And so tastefully, too. It’s nice to see a massive company like Namecheap eschew the overwhelming, in your face block images and matte colors that seem to enthrall so many web designers these days. And no stock models laughing at something just off screen- GoDaddy and Endurance International these people ain't.

No great change happens easily of course, and on closer inspection we did notice a bit of a snag with the page’s GTMetrix score, which could be expected growing pains, but eesh, an E? We reached out to the press department at Namecheap to try and put a finger on the somewhat sluggish, if gorgeous design.

(Editor's note.. Namecheap did ask for feedback on their new site design... We've left a space for their response but I guess they didn't like our question!)

Beyond optimization, there’s the question of mobile accessibility, which one could probably argue was the primary reason for the redesign. By that metric, Namecheap’s redesign passes with flying colors. The challenge with any mobile display is of course trying to free your reader from the unimmersive zoom feature. Content gets layered, and then the struggle is finding a way to nest the information without losing the viewer. But it’s gorgeous the way they’ve done it. In fact, it does go to show the staggering trend away from the PC, even if the desktop and laptop remain the central devices in the tech world. For websites, tablet and phone accessibility is a must, of course, but the design- the face of the internet, if you will, seems to be more and more tailored towards its appearance on a mobile device. It does lead one to speculate about the future of the website. Thus far, some element of desktop design has remained in the layout of most websites- Namecheap’s community page is a perfect example of subtle, scrolling tradition. Who knows how quickly that will change as form catches up to function- or how information will be displayed if and when the desktop becomes a mere limb of computing and not the backbone. Now, maybe you’re thinking that this is something of a navel-gazing way to talk about a site overhaul. Well, good design breeds conversation, doesn't it?

And the front-page redesign isn't the only newcomer to Namecheap’s oeuvre. They've also upgraded their OX App Suite, yet another concession to the mobile market, to make it easier to view documents and synchronize text and files. The OX App Suite, if you’re unfamiliar, is a wonderful project that helps mobile users free themselves from proprietary user-interfaces, putting power in the hands of content providers when it comes to user experience and accessibility.

Namecheap is a leader in the hosting industry, and what this redesign tells us is that in terms of form, they see which way the wind is blowing. A good sign for users and investors alike.

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