had the chance to sit down and chat with David from CiviHosting. We looked at the key factors that make them stand out in the hyper-competitive web hosting market, how the web hosting industry is going to change, and what are their plans for further development.
What’s your story? How did you get into the web hosting business?
CiviHosting is an offshoot of a small web dev shop called GalleryRobinson. Originally, GalleryRobinson was just doing web development. At some point, they realized that providing hosting also was what their clients wanted, so they began shopping around for various reseller plans, and indeed tried the reseller services of several providers. Once they had enough clients, and enough experience with sub-par reseller hosts, they decided to take the plunge and open their own hosting site and provide a higher quality service.
What types of hosting plans do you currently offer?
We have shared, VPS and Web Apps. All of our servers are Linux. The shared hosting is ideal for small to medium sites who don’t want to pay too much for their hosting and are not opposed to their account being hosted on a server with other accounts. We have a few levels of shared hosting, for different sized sites.
We then have a set of VPS accounts, for those who need more power, more resources and more flexibility. We have several sizes of VPS accounts as well.
Last we have our newest offering, which is Web Apps accounts. We have two sizes of these also, and this type of account runs tools like Node.js and MongoDB. We created these accounts to service the needs of our clients who are taking advantage of these newer technologies, but still of course need top-end service.
All of our accounts include free SSL (via Let’s Encrypt), full mail service and everything else you would expect, such as daily backups and more.
What makes people eventually choose you over your competitors?
The main reason people choose CiviHosting is for the quality of our support and service. It’s almost impossible to find such great service and personal support anywhere else. The truth is that we have heard of another host or two who also provide excellent support and service, but it’s quite difficult to sift through the sea of offerings today, to find that. So when clients find us, they stay with us.
What are the most common mistakes website owners make when choosing a web hosting provider, and how can they prevent them?
Most people seeking hosting look at the price first. I will admit that if you don’t need your site backups to work, and you don’t really need support, that you should definitely not waste your money and choose the cheapest host you can find. Just note many only offer a good deal the first year.
But if your site gets hacked just once, and the backups don’t work, then the few dollars you spent on a cheap host are themselves wasted.
This is not a theoretical situation – we have had to salvage such websites many times in the past. If your site is down and you don’t know why, and your host doesn’t respond for two days, or they do respond but just they “We don’t know, sorry.” then again a cheap host is actually costing you a lot of money in the end. If your site is down, you will probably be losing income, if not sleep.
The main message here is we consider a good quality host to be like an insurance policy of sorts. When you pay for it and all is well, it can be confusing how to justify the cost, but the moment something goes wrong and you need it, then it’s worth every penny, and more.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in the future for you and your clients, and how do you plan to cope?
The future of hosting is clear and unclear. The business aspect is clear – the overall quality of the large hosting providers has only been going down the past few years, and the “absolute lowest price” cutthroat approach of most hosts, means that is the only way they can survive.
Our approach of providing hosting only to a more educated client base, who understand and appreciate the quality of our offering, is our recipe to maintain our stability as a medium-sized host.
What is unclear is the technology aspects. A few years ago, the concept of Web Apps did not exist. Today we have it, and many hosts, like CiviHosting, stepped up to the plate to respond to the need for such hosting. What technology tomorrow brings we can’t know, but we can tell you that CiviHosting will be there to examine and evaluate, and if at all possible, to provide services for our clients, for whatever systems they need to host.