Interview with HostColor Operations VP, Martin

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HostColor has been providing web hosting services since 2000 – it first started business out in Europe and moved to Delaware United States in August 2003. In case you wish to learn more about HostColor, today is your lucky day :) – we’ve got Martin, HostColor Operations VP, on the line and he will be sharing some useful information about the company with us in this Q&A session.

For users who wish to dig deeper, you guys can also check out the company’s Twitter account (Twitter.com/HostColor) as well asofficial blog ( Blog.HostColor.com).

Q1: Hello there, thanks for being with us today. For start, can you please briefly introduce yourself and your company HostColor?

I’m Martin and I’m a VP of Operations of  Host Color. The company has been created in 2000 in Europe, where we still operate a brand called HC Europe. In 2003 we moved to U.S. and Host Color LLC has entered into the hosting industry as provider of Shared Hosting, Reseller Accounts and Dedicated Servers.

In 2007 we have decided to enter the VPS Hosting market. Since then Virtual Private Server and Dedicated Hosting accounts are very important part of our business portfolio.

Q2: The competition in the web hosting industry is extremely steep. We see new hosting companies setup and go out of business every now and then; but yet Host Color stays as a strong player for a decade. What sets you guys apart from the rest?

It is really hard to speak about yourself! Because you might say something which is not true. So I will say that the real answer comes from customers of HostColor.com. Most of those who signed up with Host Color within 10 years ago are still with us. Some left because web hosting is a very competitive industry and there are many other very good hosting providers. We know that web hosting business is changing rapidly and do whatever it takes to implement the best possible standards, to invest in equipment, to improve our network, to adopt new software technologies.

When we were small company the only thing we could do better than larger providers was to the customer support. Now when we are a middle-sized hosting provider, we still bet on strong customer care. Most of Host Color’s customers say they are very satisfied of our customer support. Of course we take a critique and negative comments from time to time, but we always work to resolve any issue and to make the customer to feel good with our services.

The way any web host does customer support is the probably the second most important thing. The first one is the high, 99.9% uptime. Any web hosting provider must treat its customers with a great respect and not to impose any hidden terms on their contracts. Unfortunately most web hosting providers always try to impose any rules and fees, which make hard for the customers to leave, when they are unhappy with the service. Host Color offers fair treatment. When we have done anything wrong, we apologize and do our best to help the customer. All the cases are usually resolved in favor of our customers. All we ask them is to read and follow our TOS and SLA.

Q3: What can we know more about HostColor data center? 

We operate from 3 different data centers. The HostColor.com newest IT Hosting center is located on 111 8th Avenue in Manhattan, New York. This is a major telecommunication facility, a key hub for Internet traffic and one of the world’s most wired buildings. It was bought by Google in December 2010. We offer 100% network uptime (SLA) there and the best possible connectivity thanks to Internap and a few other providers of high-quality IP bandwidth.

We also have facilities in 2 other data centers – in South Bend, Indiana and in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Our model is to invest in every aspect of the business, excluding the property, which means that we do not own data centers and at this time do not plan to build one. Data center management is a different business than web hosting and there are other companies that are good in this.

Q4: Overselling seems like a norm nowadays –  I see cheap unlimited hosting offers everywhere online. Host Color, however, is not one of these unlimited hosting providers. What is the company’s policy when it comes to overselling – does HostColor provide any sort of guarantee when it comes to server CPU power? 

It is true! I think that Yahoo were the first to go “unlimited”. Most Shared Hosting providers followed them. For some web hosts “Unlimited” is a way to compete by offering “quantity”, instead of trying to create an unique IT hosting service which covers a certain niche market. Unfortunately it is not like that most Shared Hosting provider have a choice. If they do not spend a lot on hardware and if they do not claim “everything unlimited”, they do not get customers. it is sad, but true!

Host Color has been resisting to “Unlimited” for a long time. When everyone went there, we began offering “Unlimited bandwidth” with two Shared plans called Multi Domain Hosting and ECommerce Hosting. We can afford to provide “virtually unlimited” bandwidth to our Shared customers, but the truth is that they can not use it. If they have a very high traffic websites they will need a lot of CPU and will realize that it is much better for them to get a VPS Hosting, a Dedicated server or a Cloud Hosting account.

Q5: For readers who wish to start up their own web hosting business – how can HostColor Reseller Hosting Plans help? Why choose HostColor over others?

We offer stable, standardized cPanel/WHM based Reseller Hosting Accounts. We host Resellers on powerful, redundant hardware systems and provide them with 24/7 non-outsourced support! That’s it. We do not sell cheap Reseller Hosting and do not claim we are the best in this business! Host Color just works good for Resellers!

Q6: Many hosting service provides, including HostColor, have stepped in to the “Cloud world”. Can you tell us, in general, what are the benefits of cloud hosting from the user’s point of view? And, who should go with HostColor’s cloud hosting services?

It is important for any web hosting provider to build its own Cloud computing based infrastructure, because an IT Cloud saves financial resources on hardware, data center space and on human resources. Plus it offer more scalability and high performance to site owners.

Our Cloud solution is based on a Blade hardware technology which allows host to use 10 to 14 servers in 7U space. But what is really important is the software technology HostColor is using for the Cloud. We are one of the very few web hosts which offer Shared Cloud Hosting. Host Color operates a High availability system, which runs cPanel/WHM on top of a cluster of servers. This allows us to host IP-based and name-based virtual hosting accounts in a high availability, load-balanced multi server environment.

HostColor Cloud Hosting Price List

HostColor Cloud Hosting

Q7: Last question, let’s talk about customer support. Can you tell us what kind of after-sales support we can get from Host Color? What exactly is pZone Account Management?

We have always offered non-outsourced customer support. It is much easier and more cost-effective to outsource customer support, but this is not a good practice. We know our customers, we speak to them every day, and they know they can trust us. This does not work with outsourced customer support.

pZone is our proprietary CRM which we used between 2005 and 2009. Alongside with it we used to use our own proprietary web hosting control panel. We have invest a lot during the years in creating web hosting technologies and our proprietary software is good. However we have software solutions like cPanel/WHM control panel, WHMCS CRM and other applications, which have become a true standard in the web hosting industry. So Host Color has implemented them and now we moved account management to WHMCS.

* Editor’s sidenote: HostColor is one of the few hosting companies I know that provides so many different contact channels. You can call HostColor anytime on their U.S. toll-free line 1-888-222-1495; UK phone line: +44 871 731 1002 or directly to their Bulgarian call center at +359 2 489 10 70 without conforming with business hours or time zones. Moreover if you prefer to talk on Skype simply dial “HostColor”; and If you like ICQ, the number to ring is 295-989-860.

Well Martin, that’s all for my questions, thank you very much for your time. Do you have anything to add before we end this Q&A session?

Let me finish by saying that Host Color has become a traditional web hosting provider. We are not in web hosting business just to make money and to sell the company when we get a good offer. We do web hosting because we like this business! that’s why I’m quite optimistic about Host Color’s future. The whole web hosting industry will grow a lot within the next few years. Cloud computing is an exciting trend which is focused on high performance computing and on quality of the IT Hosting services. Those who used to say that “web hosting is becoming a commodity business” were wrong. Web hosting is going into a mainstream business!