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Interview with Will Donaldson from Squidix.com

Interview with Will Donaldson from Squidix.com

Marko Velimirović

Today, we’ve had the opportunity to speak with Will Donaldson from Squidix.com. We discussed their first steps, the future of the web hosting industry, as well as the importance of cybersecurity in this business.

Please describe the story behind your company: What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?

Squidix was founded in Arlington, VA in 2010 and moved to Indianapolis in 2014. In 2018, it returned to Arlington as part of an expansion in technical services and management. Squidix then began offering new services in addition to general web hosting services. Some of these additional services included on-site training for WordPress, market and industry-specific packages, and new content and web maintenance plans for customers.

How do you envision the future of your industry?

The future of the web hosting industry is changing. More and more people are going away from commodity website hosting and are outsourcing their web content, social media and maintenance as well as their hosting. Our customers like a one-stop shop and we provide the full web experience. If you have trouble with your website, you should be able to pick up the phone, send a text or open a ticket and get a response! We have a ton of new clients who come to us from other web companies that can’t provide the necessary support or are run by part-timers who just can’t keep up.

Which trends and technologies do you find to be particularly intriguing

The biggest trend we see in hosting is the larger hosting companies acquiring many web hosting companies under different brands but they are all the same after you get past their marketing departments. So when you’re calling their support lines they are all the same. It is very bad for the customer because they typically provide less customer satisfaction because they are really supporting clients from 100’s of different companies which all have different price structures, web configurations, etc. Then they eventually raise their prices and it is difficult for some clients to migrate, so they suck it up and keep their site there.

Squidix Web Hosting is small enough to provide a personal touch but large enough to have the highest up-times and customer satisfaction in the industry. We’ve had servers with 99.99999% uptime and some servers that haven’t been down in years. Squidix is rated 95%+ positive on most review sites.

How has COVID impacted your customers and business?

COVID has been a challenge. We’ve had to adjust our FREE in-person training schedules which was disappointing since our clients love them and our pre-COVID classes were packed. We can’t wait to get these back on track. Zoom, Skype and other VTC clients just are not as good as face-face training and interaction when you’re setting up WordPress websites. Our 100-person training room at our corporate HQ in Arlington was recently upgraded and we’re anxious to try it out!

Would you say there is enough awareness of cybersecurity among the industry and the people you work with?

There can never be enough awareness of cybersecurity when you’re dealing with the web. This includes awareness at all levels and all groups; from our clients, our developers, our hosting facilities, and even our backup storage locations. We never stop improving our security and maintain the latest versions of software on all of our platforms. Recently, we upgraded to Centos 7.8 on some of our primary shared servers and are confident in our ongoing security practices.

I think we’ve covered all of my questions but if you have anything else that you want to point out or highlight, please go ahead.

In the last year we’ve seen what we like to call “plugin creep.” This occurs when a user has WordPress, Joomla, or any CMS and they don’t maintain their plugins, and continually add to their website new plugins, extensions, modules. Eventually the site will have problems.

For example, a website may have several contact forms, a cache module, a sign up script, SEO plugin, a sitemap generator, and more. What happens is that eventually one or more of these will be incompatible with the website, and it will cause the site to perform poorly, crash, or invite malware.

This issue can be caused by a plugin that is outdated, or a plugin that was updated but is now incompatible with the site. So unless you are keeping track you’re going to have a bad time.

Every single plugin must be regularly updated and maintained and so should the core CMS software.

But, who has time for that?

So then once the site breaks, the entire site may need to be rebuilt if the incompatibilities are so disruptive that it is faster and more economical to create a new site than to try and keep the old.

We’ve solved that with our maintenance plans, because we keep track of all of this for our customers. Their responsibilities become ours. And since we’re always working with the latest versions of these items we are able to get them running in the best possible environment. Typically we know when there are issues before the sites are affected.

Squidix Web Hosting is looking forward to 2021 and we’re on track to have the largest growth next year than we’ve ever had.

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