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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.

Hostwinds Web Hosting

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.

Domain Name Registration from Namecheap

Talking shop with Hivelocity Director of Operations Steven Eschweiler

Thu, 30th January 2014, 17:42

Hivelocity is a long-running company with a stellar reputation, one earned over years of focusing on one thing: solid dedicated server hosting, so with the recent announcement of Steven Eschweiler’s promotion to Director of Operations, we thought we’d take the opportunity to pick his brains for a look into what it takes to build a brand and keep it spotless- as well as seeing what’s in the future for a company with a real focus on its customer service.

Q. You've been with Hivelocity from the very beginning. What’s been the most rewarding element of starting and growing a brand?

Steven: We started Hivelocity with 5 guys in a basement and 2 cabinets of Cobalt Raq 3 servers...remember those? Here we are 12 years later with our own 25,000 sq ft data center, thousands of physical servers, thousands more virtual servers and 50 employees. When you are self-funded and organically grow like we have the rewarding events over the course of a decade plus are many. Our brand over the years has grown to stand for incredible customer service & support, impeccable reliability, and an exceptional user experience. None of these brand elements would be possible without the incredible team we have been fortunate enough to assemble. We have gone from 5 guys in a basement to 50 of the most talented and dedicated individuals in the industry.

Q. How has the hosting industry changed most radically from your first day to today? Are there any trends you think are interesting moving forward?

Steven: The industry as a whole has matured a lot over the years. Companies that were start ups along with us are now a piece of IBM. You don't get much more mature than IBM. Since hosting and servers has pretty much become a commodity we are all trying to find ways to differentiate ourselves from each other. Data centers and hosting companies are investing a lot in development and creating new software that more easily enables customers to find success. A successful customer is a growing customer and that is what we all want after all. The days of just offering power and pipe are over. People want solutions that envelope all of their needs today and provide a scalable roadmap for tomorrow.

Q. Your realm at Hivelocity has centered on solid customer service. Is there a particular philosophy that you've brought to this endeavor, or a more general corporate philosophy you uphold?

Steven: There is one core philosophy I ask our team to keep in mind with everything we do. "Provide a unique customer experience that is exceptional at every interaction, every time." When your goal is to create an exceptional user experience, every facet of service has to be included; uptime, ticket responses, technician expertise, our data center tour...everything has to be consistently superior. Our video tour, the live order tracker, the custom server pics we send, are all part of the Hivelocity experience. We want our customers to walk away from every interaction saying "wow, that was really cool."

Q. Your new position is Director of Operations. What are some of the new challenges you expect this role to bring? New opportunities?

Steven: I see our challenges and opportunities as very much the same thing. We are a technology company and as any IT company will tell you, technology changes fast. If you aren't nimble and quick to evolve, you find yourself selling something nobody wants. Likewise, if you are nimble and able to adapt you will find yourself at the cutting edge with products people are just realizing they want and need. Today, cloud and virtualized solutions with high-availability and scale are what the market demands. Every day we work towards broadening that segment of our product offerings.

Q. As General Manager, you introduced the Hivelocity Experience program, which streamlined the way the service was delivered to consumers and even included them in the setup process. We found the customer inclusion to be particularly novel: how important is this aspect of the service to Hivelocity, and do you have any future plans to ramp up customer participation even further?

Steven: Our customers are like family to us and when you have something great going on, you involve your family. Transparency and involving our customers to whatever level they want, is paramount to our brand and success. So to answer your question, we have only scratched the surface of what we have planned regarding customer inclusion and continuing to create that unique user experience I touched on previously.

Q. On a more personal note, tell us about your history and how it led you to hosting, and to Hivelocity in particular.

Steven: I was close friends with the founders of Hivelocity from the time we were teenagers. After graduating from the Florida State University with a BS in Business Administration and a major in Marketing, I took a horrible job working for a big US bank. Sometimes you learn the most by watching bad practices in action. Luckily, I was able to leave that position and walk away with a realization that if given the opportunity I would make sure whatever product I had control of offering was done with the customer's greatest interests in mind. My next position was working with a managed service provider here in Tampa. This position helped reinforce my IT aspirations and one day my old friends called up just as they were about to start Hivelocity. Their needs fit my strengths and the rest is history.

Q. What would you say is one big failure you've endured during your career, and what did you learn from it?

Steven:  We have not always had our own data center. Over the years we have gone from having a closet, to renting suites and cages within other data centers to finally building out our own facility. At each stage of our growth we have been able to say, okay what did we do wrong last time and how can we do it better this time around. An easy example of this is wire management. 10 years ago wire management was not something we spent much time on. It doesn't take long to realize if you don't take pride in your wire management you end up with a cabling nightmare. The next time we scaled up our operation we made sure that during the migration we wired everything perfectly. If you were to tour our data center today you would immediately take notice that miles of cables are incredibly managed.

Q. Finally, do you have any advice for the young graduates getting into the industry?

Steven: What you read in a book and what you learn on the job are 2 very different things. I have had applicants with all the certifications and accolades one can garner not be able to pass our tests during the interview process. The books are great for building a foundation but there is nothing like managing your own servers and getting your hands dirty with real life issues.

About Steven Eschweiler

Profile picture of Steven Eschweiler at the data center

Steven Eschweiler was recently named Director of Operations at Hivelocity after previously holding the position of General Manager where he was responsible for operations, marketing and product development.  Steve committed much of his efforts to making Hivelocity a premium solutions provider with a laser focus on customer service. Eschweiler has been with the company since its inception in 2002. 

About Hivelocity

Since the beginning in 2001, Hivelocity have backed their responsive e-business solutions with a robust infrastructure, the best customer service and superior technical support. A common misconception about the technology industry is “it’s all machines”. That is not Hivelocity’s approach. Although their state of the art data center and infrastructure are second to none, Hivelocity is successful because they are committed to exceptional customer service and unparalleled 24×7 Impressive Support. Because Hivelocity take support and client services so seriously, thousands of business across the globe have entrusted Hivelocity with their data. Hivelocity boasts and guarantees 99.9% network uptime which they fulfill year after year after year.

Endurance completes Directi deal: ResellerClub & BigRock now EIG Brands

Wed, 29th January 2014, 18:00

The consolidation in the webhosting industry continues with Endurance International Group (EIG) announcing that it has completed the $110 million deal struck last September to buy Mumbai-based Directi Web Technology Pvt Ltd. As part of the deal, Endurance International has acquired the web hosting entities ResellerClub and BigRock. The deal also included WebHosting.Info and LogicBoxes. 

Hari Ravichandran, CEO, Endurance, says:

We believe this acquisition represents an opportunity for Endurance to expand its footprint and positions us for further growth. Directi has managed to build a blue chip organisation without losing their entrepreneurial spirit, and the Endurance team also intends to learn from Directi’s approach to developing new markets.

The more we learned about Directi, the more impressed we became. Their approach to recruitment is highly selective, particularly for developers and is similar to that of major sports figures here in the United States. They have managed to build a blue chip organization without losing their entrepreneurial spirit. And in fact, the Endurance team intends to learn from Directi’s approach to developing new markets. 

Directi was formed in 1998 by Bhavin Turakhia along with his brother Divyank to develop mass-market web products with more than 25 product offerings. The combined product portfolio of various Directi businesses included communication and collaboration apps, social networking software, instant messaging, context analysis engines, anti-spam and antivirus solutions, large-scale billing and provisioning platforms, monetizing web traffic solutions, online ad solutions and web hosting control panels.
 
Directi has retained a number of its brands and products including instant messenger Talk.to; PW (professional web) registry; online advertising solutions for publishers Media.net, Skenzo and Domainadvertising.com; ongoing coding contest CodeChef; and Radix FZC, a top-level domain name registry business. Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO of Directi, is expected to be actively involved in the integration of the brands Directi shed into EIG.

 

More about the brands. 

ResellersClub: Founded in 1998, ResellerClub provides a full range of Web Presence products & services to Web Hosts, Web Designers, Technology Consultants and Domain Resellers worldwide. ResellerClub is a industry's leading provider of full-range products and services that enable them to become a one-stop shop for web presence products online. ResellerClub product suite includes Domain Registration, Web and Email Hosting, SSL Certificates and Website Design which enables our Resellers to cater to the entire Web Presence market.

BigRock: Powers over 100,000 websites worldwide, making BigRock one of the most reliable hosting providers globally. BigRock offer Affordable Web Hosting for personal websites, Business Hosting for small business websites, and Professional Hosting for large enterprises. BigRock Hosting plan gives you Unlimited Disk-Space, Unlimited Bandwidth and Unlimited Email Accounts. Our Web Hosting Plan comes with a free cPanel with Fantastico Control Panel and gives you access to over 50 Free applications such as Wordpress Blogs, Photo albums, Shopping Carts, Chat, Social Networking and more. 
 
LogicBoxes: A business automation technology and consulting solutions provider focused on serving larger companies including registries, registrars, ISPs, telcos and some of the world’s leading web hosts. The LogicBoxes platform currently claims to be serving over 100 registrars in more than 35 countries around the world and manages through its registrar base approximately 3.75 million domains. One of them is EIG earlier acquisition HostGator. (editor's note: EIG will likely add its approximately 25 other brands to that list)

 

WebHosting.Info: Provides statistics and research data about the web services industry. Tracks over 35,000 web hosting companies worldwide.

Web Hosting

Nexcess upgrades hardware on Magento server cluster plans

Tue, 28th January 2014, 20:39

Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento eCommerce hosting and Magento Platinum Hosting Partner, has announced that its powerful Magento server cluster plans will benefit from an substantial hardware upgrade. Responsiveness is of particular importance to eCommerce retailers, because faster sites have proven to provide increased sales.

Nexcess Magento server clusters are designed to provide the highly optimized and responsive hosting solution required by high-traffic eCommerce stores. As part of the company’s ongoing effort to ensure that eCommerce clients are able to leverage the performance and reliability of the most up-to-date server technology, the company has significantly upgraded the hardware on its Magento MCE-SIP clusters.

All cluster plans that were previously using Dell PowerEdge R410 servers with Westmere-based Intel Xeon processors on web application servers, database servers, and file servers have been upgraded to Dell PowerEdge R420 servers that take advantage of Intel’s newer Sandy Bridge processor architecture.

Chris Wells, President and CEO of Nexcess says:

As a company we’re dedicated to helping our eCommerce clients maintain performance that’s well ahead of their competition, In combination with our highly optimized software stack, these hardware upgrades ensure Nexcess’ Magento server clusters continue to be the best choice for high-traffic enterprise eCommerce stores.

Nexcess Magento eCommerce clusters are highly scalable and are designed to allow for modular expansion. Clients are able to scale out clusters with additional web application servers, databases servers, file servers, payment bridge servers, load, and staging / development servers, among others. All clusters also include generous data usage allocations and CDN data usage.

The new specs are presently available to all new clients but Nexcess says they will work with existing clients who are experiencing performance problems and could benefit from an upgrade to the latest hardware.

About Nexcess

Nexcess is a Southfield, Michigan-based managed hosting company founded in 2000, with wholly-owned data centers located in Dearborn, Michigan and Southfield, Michigan. Nexcess offers a variety of hosting services ranging from entry-level packages to custom clustered/complex hosting configurations, with an emphasis on mission-critical hosting for high-profile eCommerce web sites. 

Nexcess Magento Hosting banner

 

Russell Wilson Passing Academy vs Peyton's Payback Foundation

Thu, 23rd January 2014, 16:16

The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away, and it’s shaping up to be something special. Between the rising star the Seahawks have found in Russell Wilson and the inimitable Peyton Manning and his Broncos, it’s a fascinating clash of new vs. old. What comes out on top- the Manning dynasty, or the best damn corner in the league, is yet to be seen.

No, in case you’re wondering, HostJury is not opening up a sporting branch. But we did think it would be a novel idea to approach the big game and its star quarterbacks through the websites they run. Obviously many pro athlete participate in charity and community outreach, Wilson and Manning being no exception. Each has an online presence around these ventures. But the way the websites are designed and hosted reveals some pretty interesting disparities. See which one you’d rather pass your cash to with HostJury’s own Super Bowl match up.

Russell Wilson Passing Academy

Russell Wilson Passing Academy 

Now here’s a website with class- just look at that tasteful leather backdrop. Russell Wilson Passing Academy is a traveling program that sets up football camps for youth aged 8-17, teaching them not only the fundamentals of the game, and introducing them to various positions and techniques, but also looks to “promote the mental and physical development of youth, with the goal of encouraging kids to develop high character and moral standards, a sense of competitiveness and fair play, a respect for authority, service to others, and a love of God, family, and country.” Patriotic! If your family is anywhere near the locations listed in the FAQ, it might be a good way to introduce them to the game, or to brush up on their skills if they already have them.

As for the website, there’s a lot to brag about. It’s expertly put together, very stylishly designed, and according to GTMetrix, it gets top marks in terms of composition and pageload speed. What makes this website work is that despite a lot of graphics and data put together in one place, much of the interactive content is scaled down, which means there’s less applets that need loading. For an event or a charity, there’s really no need to inundate the page with a thousand little boxes. Keeping the information clear and up front is better in terms of design and better in terms of server load. Web hosting for RWPA is done by GoDaddy, which despite its checkered ratings on HostJury, seems to be working really well here.

So how does Peyton stack up?

Peyback Foundation

Peyton Manning Peyback Foundation 

The Peyback Foundation is a much broader charity that directs a sizeable amount of funds to youth organizations in Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida. Peyback, and thus Peyton himself, partners with organizations to impact underprivileged and at-risk communities through outreach, summer camps, foster care and boys and girls clubs. Now that’s a goal that’s fitting for one of the best quarterbacks of all time. You can get involved by sending a donation, or if you know of a deserving organization, by contacting the Peyback Foundation and letting them know the focus of the group.

While the goal is admirable, in terms of composition, the website needs some work. In fact, we see a lot of the exact problems Russell Wilson’s website manages to avoid. Peyback uses Wordpress, but the downside to that accessibility for the designer seems to be a ton of requests that are jockeying to load… all for a page that’s oddly sparse. The less than stellar webhosting is provided by the Rackspace cloud! Maybe Peyton should use some of that Manning gold to revamp the website a bit and write a review asking why his webhosting doesn't stack up with Wilson's choice. Possibly GoDaddy's toned down 2014 Super Bowl adverts will seal the deal.

So in this match up, youth trumps experience! Based on our highly scientific method, HostJury is ready to call the Super Bowl for the Seattle Seahawks, 27-21. You can all feel free to place your bets. In the site’s long history, we've never made a single bad Super Bowl prediction.

SPECIAL OFFER! Save 50%* on New Web Hosting Plans from GoDaddy!

The Evolution of GoDaddy

Sat, 18th January 2014, 14:04

Recently GoDaddy announced that they were revamping their Linux Web hosting lineup with the addition of cPanel and its integrated Web hosting management software. At the time GoDaddy said customers were benefiting from a new Web hosting architecture that provided a fast and reliable experience and new Web hosting plans, which enable customers to find a solution that meets their specific needs.

GoDaddy Product Manager Web Hosting Ben Gabler said that “After studying the market and our customer needs, we went to work with cPanel and CloudLinux to create an optimized solution that provides a market-leading customer experience. GoDaddy is focused on bringing the best and most reliable services to our customers around the world".

GoDaddy has continued to evolve its product lineup and has announced a number of changes.. good or bad may depend on the perspective of the user.

Ruby on Rails

There isn't much to say on this change other than effective January 23 2014, GoDaddy shared hosting accounts will no longer support Ruby. Perplexing when one considers that managing Ruby on Rails Applications are incorporated into cPanel.

GoDaddy to offer Microsoft Office 365

GoDaddy and Microsoft Corp. have teamed up in a strategic partnership to offer Office 365 as GoDaddy’s exclusive core business-class email and productivity service for small-business customers.

Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of Business Applications, GoDaddy says:

Combining our small-business expertise together with Microsoft’s productivity offerings opens new doors for small businesses to easily get the tools they need to get more done in their day. We've created a simple way to attach Office 365 to a domain name, helping small-business owners look professional and work anywhere, making the business of running their business easier.”

The strategic agreement between Microsoft and GoDaddy provides small businesses with seamless access to professional email connected to their domain names, cloud storage and a full suite of Microsoft productivity solutions. As part of the agreement, Microsoft created a unique offering of domain-based email and storage especially built with GoDaddy’s very small businesses in mind.

Office 365 offers business-class email, shared calendars, instant messaging, online conferencing and access to the most up-to-date documents. These capabilities are delivered as a cloud service available to users wherever they are, online or offline and across a variety of devices, offering access to the most up-to-date versions of the files and tools they need to get things done. Unlike some offerings designed for consumers or small businesses, Office 365 includes built-in security features that help deflect malware, spam, phishing attacks and other threats. (editor's note: it's a good thing too .. you'll see why further below

Office 365 from GoDaddy is currently available in the U.S. and Canada and will expand globally within the next three months.

GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting

GoDaddy is launching a new Web hosting platform dedicated to optimizing WordPress content-management system. The new WordPress experience enables customers to focus on content creation, while GoDaddy handles the technical details of managing a Web hosting account including server setup, security, daily backups and performance optimization.

GoDaddy Director of Hosting Product Management Bill Watt says:

GoDaddy is committed to supporting the WordPress community with one of the fastest, most secure and reliable hosting platforms. The team created a product that is easy-to-use and is robust and scalable as an enterprise-level service. GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting costs a fraction of other competitors prices and is backed by award-winning, around-the-clock customer service which makes this a great choice for anyone looking to get their website up and running.

GoDaddy is officially launching the product at WordCamp Phoenix and participants of the event have been able to test out the product leading up to the event, in order to give feedback directly to the engineers and designers.

Tom King, Waste Management Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman adds:

GoDaddy’s WordPress solution has really taken the Waste Management Phoenix Open website to the next level. We have had flawless performance since we started using the service. Our tournament is just around the corner and we completely trust GoDaddy to help us deliver a fast and reliable website, regardless of how many spikes in traffic we get.

Not so fast Tom.. Speed matters and Hostjury likes to know how fast, is fast.

GTmetrix uses Google Page Speed and Yahoo! YSlow to grade a site's performance and provides actionable recommendations to fix issues. Since studies have shown that users leave a site if it hasn't loaded in 4 seconds we decided to put Tom King’s perception of a fast and reliable website to the test. While using GTmetrix wouldn't pass the threshold required for a scientific study, (many variables can affect pageload speed), the tool is quick, simple, and convenient.

Our first test on wmphoenixopen.com http://gtmetrix.com/reports/wmphoenixopen.com/HrVG81MK produced an A although that YSlow grade of C was less than stellar. The 4.13 second page load speed may raise some googlebot eyebrows.

GTmetrix report on the pageload spead of the website wm phoenix open 

Possibly a second try...http://gtmetrix.com/reports/wmphoenixopen.com/0pimXWJq returned similar results and that third test… we are excluding and putting down to Friday afternoon traffic on the west coast! 

Over the years many people (editor’s first thought: think those MediaTemple types) have claimed that GoDaddy’s servers are congested and oversold. We checked and were quite surprised to see 361 domains hosted on the server. (The editor must point out: a domain does not equal a website. Many sites could have numerous parked domains pointing to a main domain. Secondly, 361 domains is not in and of itself, a crowded oversold server).

We noticed the domain wmphoenixopenbetasite.com on the server so we ran GTmetrix on that domain. The YSlow grade came in slightly faster with a 73% but the pageload speed was substantially faster (relatively speaking) loading in 3.60 seconds. http://gtmetrix.com/reports/wmphoenixopenbetasite.com/pUrqurrl. A second test produced similar results. To be fair, we ran one more test on Tom King’s wmphoenixopen.com when web traffic would be minimal and the page load speed did drop to 3.42 seconds. This is a fully loaded website with lots going on. So Tom, we’re giving it a pass.

Normally we wouldn’t take the time to scroll down the list or types of domains on a server. Today we did only because of the next heading.

Amazon top malware-host ahead of GoDaddy

A report released by security firm Solutionary reveals that Amazon was the top global malware hosting provider coming in with a 16 percent share, followed closely by GoDaddy ranking second with a 14 percent market share.

On a positive note for GoDaddy, the report found the ease of website creation, low cost and speed of deployment allows malware producers to create and remove malware serving websites quickly, easily and cost effectively, allowing them to infect millions of computers and vast numbers of enterprise systems… awesome.

GoDaddy evolution from a hormone driven budget webhost and domain registrar into a serious contender in the business marketplace continues to gain momentum. While its offerings will likely never appeal to the more ardent hardcore tech evangelists, (editor’s note: there is an adage about never saying never), a global study commissioned by Microsoft estimates if the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and 125 million worldwide adopted the latest in IT tools, it could potentially boost their revenues by a combined $770 billion and create more than 6 million jobs.

About GoDaddy

GoDaddy now serves more than 12 million paying customers worldwide and is the largest Web hosting and domain name registrar on the planet. GoDaddy leverages its award-winning talent and personalized approach to help small business owners create their digital identity, build websites and grow online.

Put your business online! Save 50%* on Hosting Plans!

The shady whois on NodeKi imminent demise

Fri, 17th January 2014, 18:51

Not so long ago, a glowing article appeared on the wpmudev blog extolling a new webhosting outfit that was going to revolutionize the industry for wordpress users.

What if you could pay for hosting once and never have to worry about it again for the rest of your life? No monthly or yearly bills, no contracts to renew, nothing to worry about except building your websites. Sound interesting?

NodeKi: A New WordPress Hosting Company

NodeKi is a new WordPress hosting company that offers a unique pricing structure, which includes Lifetime Hosting plans…. yada yada yada

Way back in 2012 when Sarah was hyping this radical new concept being pitched by Nodeki, (editor’s hint: the one where you get something for almost nothing), pricing started at $39 USD. But you'd have to hurry because prices were going up ten bucks on April 1st.

As with any ponzi style business plan, the prices continued to climb until NodeKi founder and CEO Jonathan Tittle sold and relinquished the reins of his lifetime optimized wordpress hosting venture. Now those fledging magnates are telling clients that as of February 1st, 2014, the revolution is over, and they need to find a new webhosting provider... oh and by the way, there’s no refunds on those lifetime managed wordpress hosting plans

Dear Sir/Madam,

As of February 1st, 2014, NodeKi will permanently be going out of business. We want to inform you in advance that the NodeKi lifetime plans and server will cease to exist on February 1st of 2014.

Unfortunately, the “Lifetime” plans were not a sustainable business model. We can’t continue paying for servers, software, bandwidth and support if there’s no incoming money to cover these costs. It’s not remotely possible to provide any product “for life” that has recurring costs associated with it. The Lifetime plans were not something that the existing management implemented, sold, or received money for. Due to this reason and the “no refund” policy at purchase, we are not able to offer refunds. This is not something that is open to debate.

LIMITED support (password resets and MINOR server related issues) will be provided on a best effort basis up until the shutdown time. We have provided a two week timeframe so that you can move your domains and websites to a new provider.

Thank you for your support in the previous years.

Ouch… maybe the management should at least offer a 'thanks for the money' to clients!

Whois on NodeKi Management

Back in 2011, Jonathan Tittle registered the NodeKi domain using the following information:

Jonathan Tittle
1004 E. Watauga Ave
#109 Johnson City, TN, USA
37601
Phone: (423)598-2692
Email Address: jtittle@pressed.in

(Editor’s note: pressed.in still redirects to NodeKi.com)

Then in January of 2012, the whois information changed to:

NodeKi
Tabitha Buchanan
1004 E. Watauga Ave
#109 Johnson City, TN, USA
37601
Phone:(423)598-2692
Email Address: hello@nodeki.com

Again in December 2012 the domain contact reverted to Jonathan Tittle, same address but different phone number: (423)741-6116.

In May of 2013, a thread shopping a block of clients appeared on that forum frequented by those partisan webhosts purveying the only unbiased hosting reviews on the web jargon. The original poster Breakfree, hailing from Johnson City, TN, claimed “the reason for the sale is that we're simply looking to exit from the hosting industry so that we can focus on our other businesses

It is noteworthy that none of the clients being offered were on lifetime plans. Responding publicly to questions, Breakfree stated:

Only clients are mentioned in the thread above, and that's what we're looking to sell. We do have other clients and the brand, but we'd be looking at slightly more for everything if that is of primary interest to the buyer. The primary sale is of the 21 clients mentioned above.

One of the respondents was IQBreck aka Breck Burgess. Way back in 2003, Burgess was the owner of InterQuad Communications. It is purported that Interquad was sold to ServerCentral in 2005, although the domain records suggest a change was made in 2006. But not to ServerCentral, rather to WingSix which is part of the UK2 Group. In 2009, it appears the domain was transferred to Hosting Services Inc. and then back to UK2 in 2010. In December of 2012, the domain reverted back to where this all started, Breck Burgess. In January of 2013 the privacy whois was enabled to hide the domain owner.

In May of 2013 the NodeKi nameservers switched to Interquad, the domain registrar changed to NetEarth, and the domain whois privacy was enabled.. always a bad sign with a web hosting company. It also appears the NodeKi about page was never updated to reflect the changes… especially that part about “the most transparent and hands-on management teams in our industry”.

Other domains owned by Breck Burgess

Interquad.net and dot com is owned by a Breck Burgess
nexuscast.com is owned by a Breck Burgess
MyShoutServer.com is owned by a Breck Burgess
Verushost.com
prismavps.com
LOADEDSERVERS.NET

Are there more.. likely but I got tired looking. If your webhost’s domain whois privacy is enabled and the snail mail contact information isn’t clearly spelt out on their website… find a webhost to transfer your data for you... most will handle it for free.

Meanwhile it appears our lady friend Sarah scooped us on the breaking story of NodeKi impending demise… how fitting. The Reg put it best: Agreeing to a "lifetime" deal does not normally refer to your lifetime - it's all about the sustainability of the biz and its eventual death warrant, which in this instance was signed by NodeKi.

Choose wisely and read the reviews!

Is Ghost just a blogging platform marauding as a webhost?

Wed, 15th January 2014, 15:47

Blogging services and content management systems are great, right? Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and the like are the perfect marriage of form and functionality- godsends for the end user: writers, bloggers, e-marketers, anyone with the desire to publish web content on their own terms.

Thus far, the one crucial step beyond actually learning to operate the system is, of course, finding a suitable host. If you're reading this article, chances are you know something the depth of the hosting world- maybe daunting to some, but endless in its opportunities for any who care to look, including hosts with an eye towards these services, like HostPapaArvixeSitegroundHostGatorA2 HostingWP EngineMDDHosting ... The list is endless.

But it does seem a logical progression of the consolidating, streamlining forces of progress to try and cut out the middleman, taking the middle ground of customizable but user oriented services and inching them ever closer to the public by wrapping hosting up in the mix: enter Ghost.org, the trendy not-for-profit that turned heads with its successful six-figure Kickstarter campaign.

Now, with a few months passing since their successful launch in October, Ghost is launching the hosted version of their platform, and the end result is worth taking a look at.

Ghost describes itself as entirely oriented on publishing, and there's something to be said for the style and ease of access provided by their blogging-hosting combination. But there's a number of pitfalls to hosting that have to be avoided, and ultimately raise the question... Is it all worth it?

1. Hosting is not easy- or cheap.

If dedication to making the best blogging platform available is Ghost's goal, incorporating hosting is an odd choice. Despite partnerships with Fused Network and SingleHop (as well as Site5) one can expect that keeping their ever-expanding hosting operation under control will be a major priority for Ghost's ambitious creators. This in a niche which is growing at a breakneck pace- Ghost may be off to a head start, but how long will that last?

2. Ghost's hosting is... Adequate. Their prices? Less so.

We checked the domain whois to see where Ghost hosts their website and found cloudflare nameservers which masks where the domain is actually hosted. They used Vidahost when Ghost.org became active (domain was first registered in 2005 by a nameless domain squatter)

2013-06-23 Sedoparking.com to Vidahost.co.uk

2013-08-06 Transfer Vidahost.co.uk to Vidahost.com

2013-11-27 Transfer Vidahost.com to Cloudflare.com

A simple speedtest of Ghost's new servers reveals that what you're getting is not that bad, but it's certainly not cutting edge, and if you're willing to pick and choose you can probably find a service better optimized for your needs.

A speed test of ghost.org using GTmetrix.. The results, although adequate, are nothing special: http://gtmetrix.com/reports/ghost.org/e22X8PfJ. One could question (and you should) whether that page load time of 4.02 seconds is going to impress the google bots! 

Not so terrible, until you consider Ghost's prices: forget bandwidth, you're paying for pageviews, and that's something that should make prospective customers more than a little uneasy: sudden success, even with intelligently decentralized, embedded content can take you to a class of service you're not ready to pay for... Leaving you wishing you hadn't stuck with the proprietary option.

Perhaps, in time, like Wordpress, Ghost will evolve into a full on content management system, with it's complimenting hosting service to make it just right for the boutique website/blog with no setup hassles. But for a company that prides itself in being 'just a blogging service', Ghost sure is piling on the functionality. Maybe it will turn out to be the perfect recipe to attract casual bloggers in droves: or maybe there's something to the maxim 'Jack of all trades, master of none.'

Arvixe wordpress hosting

HiVelocity giving away 10GB of cloud storage with every server Free

Wed, 15th January 2014, 14:30

Infrastructure services and hosting provider HiVelocity is now including an additional 10GB of free cloud storage with every new server. While each server is provided 10GB of free storage, there will be options for customers to choose up to 2TB of cloud storage per server they have with Hivelocity. One of the interesting details in this announcement is that the free storage is not dispersed on a per client basis, rather on a per server basis. Customers with numerous servers will have multiple free storage plans provided to them. 

Barry Stetler, Hivelocity’s Development & Operations Leader speaking about the additional feature says:

We are always looking for new ways to reward our customers and improve our service. Obviously some free storage on the cloud gives our customers an avenue for backing up data and peace of mind. I think the simplicity myVelocity offers in setting up and managing the storage will be just as rewarding to our customers as the fact it is free.

Over the last year Hivelocity has introduced several free services available to customers within their myVelocity portal. From managing DNS, creating A records, remote reboots and now free storage.

Hivelocity customers are empowered to manage their online presence as much as they like. Alternatively, Hivelocity has made a name for itself by offering an exceptional level of customer service and support giving customers the option of having Hivelocity experts handle things instead. Existing clients can expect to receive instructions on activating and managing their storage using Hivelocity’s custom built myVelocity portal incrementally throughout January.

About HiVelocity 

Founded in 2001, Hivelocity provides dedicated server, VPS and Cloud hosting services to customers from over 135 countries worldwide. Their state-of-the-art data center was upgraded in 2010 with brand new generator, UPS, batteries and 200 tons of computer room AC. Because they buy server hardware direct from Dell and Supermicro, they are able to provide extremely reliable servers at a great value. With our flexible options in hardware, software and bandwidth, we are able to service a wide range of businesses. Hivelocity’s servers are utilized by tens of thousands of businesses every day. Some of the common uses for our servers include; online gaming, web site hosting, virtualization, cloud computing, credit card processing, video and audio streaming, rendering, software development, email, data storage, VOIP and much more.
 
HiVelocity offer 24/7/365 tech support with live reps on site every minute of every day to service the thousands of customers they maintain from all over the world. Hivelocity has over 100 Gbps of fiber optic connection to the internet with multiple tier 1 carriers. Hivelocity is privately held and carries zero debt so you can be sure our industry longevity is as solid as our network.
 

Spiral Hosting acquires Australian webhost SpeedySparrow

Tue, 14th January 2014, 00:57

Spiral Hosting, one of Ireland’s largest cloud computing and web-hosting company just got a little bigger with the announcement that it has acquired a foot hold in the land down under with the purchase of Australian webhost SpeedySparrow.

Speaking about the announcement, Peter Armstrong, director of the Irish HSP explained:

Spiral Hosting are delighted to announce the acquisition of SpeedySparrow. This acquisition allows us to expand and invest in our operations in Australia. It represents a significant investment in our webhosting infrastructure, customer service and technical support.

SpeedySparrow is a first-class webhosting provider that is in many ways similar to Spiral Hosting. It has an excellent reputation of offering friendly personal support that will go the extra mile for customers.

The new merged company will result in improvements for all Spiral Hosting and SpeedySparrow customers. Our top three objectives are excellent servers, fast support and most importantly happy customers. The SpeedySparrow team will be joining Spiral Hosting. We’ll be taking the best of both businesses and continuing to build our hosting services, cloud infrastructure and 24/7 support. 

Based in Melbourne and Victoria, Speedy Sparrow has been trading for over six years with a reputation for delivering a high-quality service backed by first-rate customer support.

Spiral Hosting has a large Irish and expanded into the American hosting market after acquiring the webhosting division of Eideashop in May 2010. Spiral Hosting then went on to acquire Adventure Host in 2011. Spiral Hosting is headquartered in Ireland with offices in the UK and USA.

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