Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
Today we have Valentin Sharlanov, CEO of WebHostFace, as our interview guest. WebHostFace is relatively new but have been rocking the boat (in a good way) quite a bit recently. Without further delay, here goes my Q&A session with Mr. Sharlanov.
Hello Mr. Sharlanov, it’s a great honor to have you here with us today. Some basic introduction to start this interview: Who is Valentin Sharlanov? Please tell us more about yourself – Are you more of an outdoor guy or a computer nerd; what do you do during free time; MAC or PC; and, do you have a dog? :)
One thing that is safe to say about me is that I am a connoisseur, I do enjoy the taste of finer things in life. Whenever I have the opportunity I always try to treat myself with some good cuisine and drinks.
Keeping me company is my adorable chihuahua Dara, which has grown to be a sophisticated lady. If I have to say who I am and what I strive to do – the keyword is “Perfection” regardless if it is related to my personal life or my daily work in WebHostFace and every project I start. So, naturally, this perfection keeps me mostly in the office as there is always something to do or help.
As for the whole PC vs MAC war, I generally tend to stay out of it, the guys in the office spend enough time arguing even without me. But, if the question comes in a “life or death” situation and there is no other way around it – sorry MAC fanboys, I have to go with PC on that one (although admittedly I can’t give up my iPhone) :)
That is some interesting intro – and for the record, I am a PC guy as well. I understand that you were with SiteGround before starting WebHostFace. How have your days in an established company like Site Ground help in your new venture today?
My time in SiteGround has helped me immensely.
One thing about them is that they are an excellent academy for young and bright minds, shaping them with all the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the growing demands of the hosting industry. I am thankful for everything I learned there but I never stopped thinking about my self-improvement. This is why, once I felt confident enough, my decision to move on was nothing less than expected. All the customers that I served there gave me a clear picture of what were the main “weak” points in the industry and ideas on how they can be tackled.
Moving on – Could you give us an overview on WebHostFace services in web hosting and domain registration?
For the last few years I was involved in a few minor hosting projects and they all laid ground to the biggest of them all – WebHostFace! It is really my “first-born baby” so to speak :)
We operate with clients for about an year and a half but the whole project started more than 2 years ago and since its first steps (when everything was literally put on paper) it has blossomed into something far better than we anticipated. And we have so many exciting changes coming in the next few months – we are working on embracing more in-house technologies and customizations to enhance the performance of our servers. There are plans for major security improvements too and we are on the verge of providing a new awesome solution for website protection to the end users. And those are just to name a few…
In a few words WebHostFace is our vision of the hosting business and the client-host relation – clear and easy to comprehend information, stable and reliable service and the friendliest, most helpful staff to serve our customers’ needs… always with a smile :)
WebHostFace offers almost everything in hosting – shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller. What’s your best selling package so far?
I don’t think it will come as a surprise that the Shared Hosting is the most popular service for us, as it is the same with many companies that chose this niche.
Truth is that there are startups or personal projects that pop up every day and their needs are far from the capacities of a VPS or a Dedicated Server for instance. Those are the people that we mainly targeted so we wanted to make sure that our Shared plans are highly competitive.
Our best selling package is called Face Extra and its popularity seem to stem from the option to host unlimited websites, get a free SSH and daily database backups, while still keeping a sweet, low price for everyone willing to try a feature-packed account. The 30-day money back guarantee makes this adventure totally risk-free but to tell you the truth, not many have chosen to “use” that option :)
I like how you put real faces on to the company website. And I have to say – you have some really good looking people working for you! Who came up with the “Face” idea in this? And how has this business strategy working for you guys?
Starting up we were aware of how saturated the hosting business was. There were literally hundreds of companies appearing like mushrooms after rain.
We realized that in order to stand out the key was uniqueness. So this was the starting point trying to find our brand identity. Being customers of various services in our daily lives we tried to think like ones. And what best for a client than to know who they are working with. We have seen far too many companies that hide behind fake names or generic combinations like “Operator 3256” and we knew that this is what we DON’T want to be. And it works great to be honest – our visitors appreciated that they can learn more about the person helping them if they want and this made them more confident sharing more on who they are. This builds a friendly atmosphere and makes problem-solving much more enjoyable for both sides.
Let’s talk a little about your partnership with SiteApps. How can SiteApps + WebHostFace benefit website owner like me?
Our SiteApps partnership is a very recent one and it came after careful consideration from both sides.
We are glad to have taken their opportunity to expand our services and give our customers an even more complete solution for their business. The guys from SiteApps have a set of really wonderful marketing-oriented products which can benefit a wide range of website owners, raising brand awareness and establishing a name in their respective industry. The growing demand of mobile users and social media geeks is also deeply covered in the range of applications so this partnership is definitely with a look in the future.
Jerry’s note: To learn what SiteApps can do for your site, the following is an introduction video; you can also read more about WebHostFace and SiteApps deal here.
We have seen quite a few large acquisitions and mergers in recent years – millions of dollars were made by hosting companies’ founders. What’s your thought in this? Is selling OR getting your hands on other companies part of your plan in the next 18 months?
We like to take challenges one by one.
Right now we are preoccupied with a major redesign project and adding even more innovations and side products for our clients.
Our current capacity keeps us away from such large acquisitions as the ones that EIG or GoDaddy are making but I like to be constantly informed so always keep an eye on smaller companies for sale, what deals are made for them and how would generally such a process go. Right now our clients and their well-being is our main concern but who knows about the future – we are full of surprises :)
Jerry’s note: Hostgator, BlueHost, HostMonster, and JustHost were acquired by Endurance International Group in 2010 – 2012. MediaTemple was acquired by GoDaddy in 2013.
Last question. In your opinion, what makes a good web host? What are the three must-check when we are choosing a web host?
This is a question I often encounter actually. And I always give the same response – what makes a good host is how it fits in the requirements of each client.
There isn’t a perfect solution out there that will make everyone happy. Truth is that each client must know what exactly is important for them and their project and seek their host accordingly. There are a few general things that should not be neglected, though. The most important for me are the Customer Care and quality of service. After all a good hosting needs to be a HOSTING in all aspects. Even the most experienced user might need some assistance some day and even if it is once a year, the host has to be exceptional.
At WebHostFace we strongly emphasize on trainings and improvements so our operators can always understand the issue and help accordingly with minimum effort. Right after that come other key factors like quality of service, reliability and uptime, range of features etc.
That’s all for my questions and thanks again for being with us today. Anything you would like to add before we say goodbye?
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to talk about WebHostFace and present it to a larger crowd.
To all your readers I want to wish lots of health and success, both personal and in their online ventures. And if you are looking for a host that will treat you as a friend and not just a number on the board – WebHostFace is the name ;)
Credit: Thanks to Radoslav Chakarov for making this interview possible.