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Interview with Pavlo Astakhov (Founder of Host4Biz)

Interview with Pavlo Astakhov (Founder of Host4Biz)

Miguel Amado

This week we talked with Pavlo Astakhov, founder of Host4Biz, a web hosting company that started in Ukraine, expanded to Poland and has an eye in Europe. Modern technology and great customer support is some of the strenghts of the company. Know more about Host4Biz now!

Please present us your company and its history

Host4Biz is a 10-years old company. It was founded in 2010 by team of Linux administrators who were outsourcing their knowledge to customers around the world. At that time, we were building and supporting different systems: starting from single customer servers and up to web hosting and internet service providers. At some point, we noticed that web hosting providers of our customers are often the most weak point – slow support, unreliable hardware etc. And we decided to built a web hosting provider the way we see it. After 10 years passed, I can say for sure – we managed to do this.

What do you see as the qualities that set Host4Biz apart from the competition?

We are the company of a perfect size now: currently we have plenty of resources – hardware, IP ranges, uplinks etc, but we still can treat every customer in person, with all of their needs and specific points. That’s why we can build perfect solutions for them: custom dedicated servers not listed on website, custom connectivity schemes etc. And for smaller customers, we are taking much care about support: during last 12 months, 48% of tickets were responded in under 10 minutes, and 83% in under a hour. Sure we are working to improve these numbers further.

Cost is something that is really important for users, obviously. Your prices are really impressive: how can you manage to offer such low rates and maintain quality?

We are automating as much as we can: for example, our monitoring system can fix small issues itself. Also, we are virtualizing pretty everything to utilize hardware’s power completely with no extra cost. And finally, when everything works well, you do not need that much people in support department. All of these factors makes our costs lower and allows to offer more competitive prices to our customers.

Your company expanded over the years and has servers worldwide. How was that process and what challenges you had to overcome?

Originally, we started our business in Ukraine. in some time, we decided to built a new tech site in Poland to be closer to European customers. And in 2015, we moved all the company and personnel to Warsaw. Currently, I can say that was a good choice: Poland is in the middle between two markets: eastern and western ones. And now Poland is going to become one of the biggest data and traffic points in Europe: Google and Microsoft announced development of their mega data centers here.

Good customer support is very important, especially for those that aren’t as familiarized with servers and databases. What does Host4Biz offer for the customers?

We are sysadmins, not programmers, so we can not dig very deep into customer’s code. But with our experience, we often can show the right way for customer to fix the problem. And from sysadmin’s point, we are trying to help them too with some options, useful links etc. And customers likes that – the main advertising channel we use is the customer radio, when one satisfied person recommends us to another ones.

How do you see the future of your company and the web hosting market in general?

I think web hosting market will be more niched. Some time ago, customer has to build his website from scratch, combining different modules together, debugging the code etc. Now, there are lot of SaaS solutions to build a website: website builders, shop-as-a-service and others. For some people, they are enough, but other ones needs customization and here comes the hosting.

So the way we are going is to provide that customers with lot of possibilities to make these customizations more convenient. Also, in the age of clouds, bare metal solutions in some cases can save lot of money in comparison to the cloud and we are focused on that customers too. In general, I am optimistic enough: we are providing our customers with good service and are making it better over time in order to meet nowadays expectations.

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