WebHostFace (site: webhostface.com/) is one of those hosting companies that puts service at the core of their branding. They describe their story as a fairy tale. They talk about a rough start, adventures along the way, a little bit of magic, all to create an enchanting story. Although still a fairly new company, with only a couple of years under their belt, WebHostFace has grown rapidly.
Valentin Sharlanov, CEO and brains behind the company, answered all our questions about WebHostFace.
One of the things I find fascinating as an interviewer is how people got started in the business industry they eventually gravitate toward. I love to discover lessons they've learned along the way and where their passions are.
Sharlanov shared where he started in the web design world. “Before WebHostFace, I worked on numerous websites of my own.” Sharlanov also worked on some e-commerce projects. He gained experience in web hosting by working as part of a team for a big web hosting company.
These two occupations pretty much determined my career as I gained experience on both sides. That helped me immensely to develop my skills and deepen my knowledge.
With experience in the industry, it only made sense that Sharlanov would one day open his own web hosting company.
WebHostFace CEO: “Learning New Tricks…”
Valentin Sharlanov talked about starting off with your first business. “When you're struggling to find your place online, you inevitably start learning new tricks that might be beneficial to your business.”
Learning those tricks and working day in and day out for the web hosting company he started with, he began to take on a new perspective about the needs of web hosting customers.
Several major indispensabilities seemed to be lacking in the hosting world of that time and that was what motivated me to create a product that would make up for this deficiency in the market.
Needs of Contemporary Websites
For Sharlanov, he understood that contemporary website owners have different needs – and a lot more needs – than ten years ago. Because of that basic understanding of the needs of businesses, he created WebHostFace to meet the more practical needs of customers. While technical features are important, that was not the entire focus of WebHostFace.
In fact, Sharlanov points to the fact that his team's expertise goes way beyond the typical, conventional hosting support of most companies. “We strive to help customers with their websites on a larger scale.” What does this mean exactly? It means that WebHostFace is there every step of the way. From developing ideas to performance directions, to ways to popularize a product. He points out that he personally has never seen another web hosting provider offer this level of service.
This type of hands-on, hand holding start-up help can mean the difference between success and failure for small businesses just getting started or just moving to an online environment.
The Challenges with Starting a Web Hosting Company
Startups are hard work, and a web hosting company is no exception. Sharlanov faced some specific hurdles in starting WebHostFace, and one of those was finding staff who would meet the customer service needs of a diverse group of clients.
He wanted to assemble the best team possible. The goal? To find ambitious, hard-working people who were motivated to grow in a very competitive and ever-changing field. Sharlanov shared the hurdles he had to leap over to get the company started: “It is a huge challenge to find the right fit as this is a job that offers you constant challenges with the evolution of technology that we all experience these days.”
He explained that the constant advances in technology means that it is vital that employees never stop learning. It was important to choose people who had a thirst for knowledge and were never satisfied with what they already knew or had achieved. He added, “This determination is what moves us forward and helps us overcome even the biggest obstacles that we faced.”
Choosing Data Centers
Another challenge Sharlanov faced was choosing the best data centers possible. He explained that the market is flooded with numerous providers and that they all seem to offer similar features. They spent long hours and time communicating with different providers until they were able to gather the perfect set of companies that they wanted to work with. “We entrusted them with our business and the businesses of our clients. We were not willing to compromise on the quality they would deliver. Today, we pride ourselves on working only with the best data centers on several continents.”
Succeeding in a Crowded Space
There are so many web hosting providers today, that it is impossible to count them all. People can start one in their garage with the right equipment, use providers around the world, and the market is full of options. Because the competition is fierce, I asked Sharlanov what the secret to WebHostFace's success was. How did they manage to stand out from all the other voices in this industry and become so successful?
He is well aware of the fierce competition. However, he points out that his company offers something different. Not only do they offer hosting as a “common service,” but they offer their heart and soul to the client, the motivation they have to see their clients succeed, and a set of skills they've cultivated.
“To us, they [the customers] are way more than just another mark on the wall. Their businesses, hobbies, and projects are extremely important to us.”
Not only do they not spare any effort when helping their clients find success, but they offer advice, guidance and react as quickly as possible when needed. He shared that not only are there many web hosting providers competing with one another, but most of them offer extremely similar features and often at the same prices. “That is why it is incredibly hard to make your way in this world.”
“We do our best to always find a way out for them in times of trouble – even if that has nothing to do with the hosting environment but is more of a developer request.”
Has this strategy of helping with anything and everything and putting the client's needs first worked for them?
Sharlanov admits that many providers might not see it as the key to success, because that level of customer service requires a much bigger human resource and a lot of training so that reps can maintain that level of service.
However, he states that the success and the happiness of their customers is the most rewarding part of the job and to their team that makes it all worthwhile and is the true measure of success.
Adding Managed WordPress Plans
It probably isn't surprising that WebHostFace recently added managed WordPress plans for their clients.
They To ensure the launch of these new plans went smoothly, the team started by looking at the work they'd already done with WordPress over the years.
The packages came from needs they discovered based on their long-term work with WordPress websites. Since they've gone through every step of building a WP site countless times, they know each step needed along the way to help clients find success. Even though there are already many companies offering managed WP hosting, WebHostFace found a niche for something that hasn't been done before.
“Like everything else we do, we will do this type of hosting our way.” Sharlanov adds that the main essence of what is currently offered is provisioning of a fast, stable environment, which is dedicated specifically to WordPress projects. “This leads to a lot of limitations for the end user and for us that is not good enough. That is why we built an infrastructure that offers all the performance and security enhancements that WordPress users are expecting – Nginx, HTTP/2 , PHP 7.0 (also 7.1) , Google Pagespeed etc.”
Personal WP Assistant
Another unique thing they've added is a personal WP assistant. This is a real human being who helps customers with their new website from the moment they sign up. “That is something that simply doesn't exist in this market.”
The personal WP assistant gets to know the websites they are working with. They look at specific features, such as plugins, functionalities. They then talk to the owner about ways to improve the website and make it function better for that client's needs. It is very personalized. The assistant also completes a performance audit and optimization, security audit and fixes, SEO audit and guidance, development perspectives and other assistance as needed.
We take care of everything! We build a strategy for the particular project and dedicate personal time every month in order to achieve the goals. The main focus is to help WordPress website owners to be more successful with their projects, because our Personal WP assistants are people that have built a lot of websites, and they have enormous experience that they can share.
Security is Vital
One of the things that makes this web hosting company stand out is the level of security they offer.
Sharlanov shares how important security is in the present hosting world. “The Internet is no longer the place that it used to be and with the constantly increasing number of users and website owners, the threats are multiplying.” Because of this, WebHostFace puts great effort into protecting their customers from what lies in wait for their websites out there. They protect their customers on multiple levels.
“Our infrastructure offers them Vulnerability monitoring, Intrusion prevention, Log Capturing and Correlation, DDoS Mitigation, Web Application Firewall, Hardened operating systems and many more features.”
In addition, they strive to do everything in their power to implement the newest technology when it comes to security. Things like applying constant patches on their machines when they discover a new vulnerability help keep the servers safe. This minimizes the impact these vulnerabilities would have on the end user. They are also particularly vigilant about WordPress security patches. They make sure they stay up-to-date on new threats in the WP world. They also keep customers informed about known vulnerabilities and what they are doing to prevent issues and what the customer can also do.
By focusing on helping clients find success, WebHostFace has found its own particular niche that has led to the company's own successes.
Sharlanov points out that being successful online today isn't just a matter of the technical structure of a website, the hardware used, or even the content, but that success if found through a very complex mixture of many components. WebHostFace strives to help with every single component and to meet the unexpected needs of clients.
Web Hosting Secret Revealed would like to thank Valentin Sharlanov for taking the time to answer our questions about how his company is finding success. By studying the work involved in a startup web hosting company, our hope is that you will be inspired to put the same level of work and customer service commitment into your own businesses and find similar successes.
Does WebHostFace live up to its name?
WHSR has been tracking WebHostFace hosting performance since April 2016. Learn more at our WebHostFace review.