This week we talked with Arvydas Strausas, CEO of Hostens, a lithuanian web hosting company that relies on great customer support and total transparency to reach more people and new markets.
Please tell our audience a bit about Hostens’ history
In brief: we’re a web hosting company that helps small businesses and individuals to find a home for their websites.
To make it more accurate, Hostens is a division of the leading Lithuanian web hosting company founded in 2003. Today we serve more than 150.000 customers around the globe.
Talking about the very beginning of Hostens, at that time the web hosting industry was (and of course, still is) highly competitive. During many years of working in this very dynamic industry, I noticed that various hosting companies got used to manipulating customers by using certain keywords, such as “free”, “unmetered”, “unlimited” etc. Even though there are many tips and tricks when it comes to choosing the right hosting provider, less experienced customers cannot fully understand offers they are receiving. Naturally, as clients are not fully informed, in the end they are the ones who suffer. For instance, sooner or later they notice that “unlimited hosting” still has bandwidth limitations.
So Hostens entered the market with affordable prices and high-quality services, and a strong promise not to mislead customers – we provide web hosting services without any hidden conditions. That was the main reason we decided to launch Hostens – to make our customers’ lives simpler. It means that we don’t try to lure our customers with “unlimited offers”, “unlimited storage”, “unmetered bandwidth” and other phrases of this kind used for marketing purposes only. We’re transparent and straightforward. I believe it sets us apart from our competitors.
What services does Hostens offer to site owners? Can I buy a domain on your platform?
We offer a wide range of services: shared hosting, reseller hosting, domain registration, VPS servers, SSL certificates as well as secure VPN services.
All of the shared hosting plans also have the option of monthly or annual payment. If you choose to be charged yearly, you’ll get perks, such as a 70% discount, free domain, a free website, and more. You can be entirely in charge of creating your online presence for just $0.90 per month.
What is the strongest point (an elevator pitch) for Hostens when you have to convince someone to use your services?
As we use a cute and fun character that looks like a hamster in our communication, we like to say “even your hamster can have a website now”. By saying that, we want to show that hosting a website can be quite easy a task (doable even for hamsters:)) as well as affordable.
In terms of infrastructure, we’re proud to have our own and certified Tier III data center located in the geographic midpoint of Europe – Vilnius, Lithuania. Our data center meets the highest standards, such as 99.95% SLA, biometric access control, has a VESDA fire detection system, automatic gas extinguishing, and many more extra features.
As for the technical side, we can offer anything that big players have to offer: the latest HP ProLiant DL360 Gen10 servers, easy-to-use control panel cPanel, the full set of payment methods including cryptocuriency, the Spam Filter, SSL certificates, website builder, and everything you need to have in order to launch, secure and manage your website.
What makes Hostens a great choice for e-commerce business owners?
I believe the most significant advantages for e-commerce business owners is that here at Hostens you can do it all. Basically, our customers can register a domain and purchase shared hosting and a website builder for as little as $0.90 per month.
The website builder is a simple to use solution for beginners as it requires no technical or programming skills. To create a fully functioning e-shop, you do not need to learn any programming language and you can have a fully working website in an hour. For sure, it can be handy for small e-commerce businesses.
Hostens is a Lithuanian company that grew beyond the borders of your country. What was that process of going multinational like (challenges, limitations) and where are your main markets today?
At the very beginning, 16 years ago, as a small business, we focused on growing here in the home market. However, as the majority of our potential customers live outside of Lithuania, after 10 years of working in the home market, we decide to take advantage of our know-how and go one step further. We launched two international projects named Hostens and Time4VPS (Time4VPS is dedicated to virtual private servers – VPS – users).
Of course, before we took our business overseas, we did our homework – market research, competitors’ analysis, marketing strategy, and various other calculations.
Based on our research, we decided to launch our VPS services in European countries. In contrast, our most important markets for shared hosting services are North America, South America, and countries in the Asian region.
Talking about the most significant challenges, surprisingly, these were not a technological limitation but cultural differences. It may seem overly obvious, but the language barrier was one of the major challenges as in so many markets, English is not the primary language of doing business. As a result, the “one size fits all” mindset had to be changed.
Customer support is vital for any web hosting company. What services can I expect as a Hostens’ client?
We always emphasize our 24/7 customer support. Our strength is the people working here at Hostens. They are creators, thinkers, and explorers. So they are always willing to take an extra step to solve our customers’ issues. Also, as we’re a small team, it’s easier for us to be more flexible, relaxed, and friendlier. Based on reviews and feedback, all of this is felt and appreciated by our customers as well.