Category Archives: Anything Goes Friday

Black Friday Web Hosting Deals

Since there are some huge sales going on this weekend, I thought I would compile the list and share them here. They are sorted alphabetically by company.

A Small Orange [Reviews] - Coupon Codes Available Only Black Friday and Cyber Monday (EST)

'GOBBLE13' - 50% off shared, business, reseller (first invoice, all billing cycles)

'TREAT13' 50% off add-ons

'CHEER13' - 35% off Hybrid/Dedicated

2x RAM on Cloud VPS

BlueHost [Reviews] - $3.95/month

Digital Ocean [Reviews] - Coupon Code 'BLACK50' $50 Free Credit

DreamHost [Reviews] - 80% Off Through Monday

Host Gator [Reviews] - 60% Off with 75% Off Fire Sales (times listed below)

All Times in CST (GMT-6)

Friday 12AM - 1AM, 9AM - 11AM,  9PM - 11PM

Saturday 12PM - 1PM

Sunday 8PM - 9PM

Monday 12AM - 1AM, 10AM - 12AM, 10PM - 11:59PM

HostMonster [Reviews] - $3.95 per month Black Friday - Cyber Monday

JustHost [Reviews]- $2.25/month

MediaTemple [Reviews] - 75% off Grid / DV First Month

SiteGround [Reviews]- 70% Off Through Monday

WPEngine [Reviews] - 33% off Annual Plan Black Friday - Cyber Monday

'cyberhostspecial13' - 4 months free when signing up for annual plan.

Hulk Hogan Launches a Web Hosting Company

Friday's theme is Anything Goes Friday, and I couldn't have asked for a better story.

According to the press release published today wrestling super star Hulk Hogan is launching a web hosting company: Hostamania.

"HOSTAMANIA is already being felt across the internet – the “other guys” have just hired a Hollywood kung-fu fruitcake to be their spokesman! Not even 24 hours after I announced the world of hurt I intend to put on these unreliable web hosts and they are running scared!

Can you believe this, brother? They’ve got this little punk playing a rainbow flute on their homepage!

How do you think a FLUTE is going to stand up to these 24 inch pythons??

Weak mascots of the web hosting world – whatchu’ gonna do when HOSTAMANIA runs WILD on you?

HH"

The latest video from their blog is simply... indescribable. WARNING: Might be mildly not safe for work in a GoDaddy-esque way.

I have no idea how serious this is, but by looking at his partner, Tech Assets, it seems like it's legitimate. They own and operate a handful of niche brands including Christian Web Host and Open Source Host.

It seems like a simple branding play to leverage Hulk Hogan's awareness to get web hosting customers. Given that generic web hosting is so commoditized these days, branding is one of the few differentiators left.

Interview: How to Re-Brand a Web Hosting Company with SiteGround’s Lilyana Yakimova

I recently had the chance to talk with Lilyana Yakimova, the Director of Marketing at SiteGround about their new branding. A few months ago, SiteGround underwent a major brand overhaul and I thought it would be interesting to learn how a large web hosting company, with over 250,000 domain names hosted, approaches such a challenge.

How has the web hosting market changed since SiteGround launched in 2004? How do you think it will evolve over the next 5 years?

Many things have happened during the last 10 years. We have seen many companies in the hosting industry rise and fall, we have witnessed the silent gathering of large number of previously independent companies under the ownership of a single organization, as most other businesses we also felt the growing role of the social media. But I think that the most important thing that have changed over the years and that has a huge impact on the shared hosting industry is the ease with which one can build a website today. With the rise of the free application like WordPress and Joomla, and the appearance of many affordable hosted website building solutions the number of people that are able to create their own web site is skyrocketing. I see this as a long lasting trend, which the web hosting companies will have to take into consideration while planning the next few years as well.

SG before after

SiteGround Before (Left) and After (Right) Re-Branding

What events led up to SiteGround's rebranding process? Could you walk through how you approached the rebranding problem?

During the years we have managed to gather a very cool team of enthusiastic and extremely geeky people. Thanks to them SiteGround became one of the few in the shared hosting industry to invent its own technologies. These technologies help us achieve better quality than what is possible with the massively used ready-made solutions. To give you a small example how geeky we actually are, at some point back then, when most of the competitors rarely used server monitoring system or were extremely proud when their servers were checked once each few minutes, we came up with our own solution that checks if everything is OK twice per second. At this time this was 120 time faster than the fastest possible for the others!

This approach led to the fact that we built multiple technological innovations. However, the image of our company was completely indistinguishable from the other players on the market. We had a website that looks like all the others, our own customers were not aware of the innovations we have implemented, and as a whole no one outside the company knew what we actually do and how good it is. So this growing gap between what we really were and what we presented to the world was the main reason for the rebranding decision.

The first step, to show the world who we are, was to start using actively our blog and social media (FaceBook mainly). This was the easiest way to reach our customers, make a more personal contact with them, tell them our stories and turn some of them from users into followers. We also started attending and sponsoring many events and this was a great opportunity to spread our story even further. By the reactions we have seen on these events we knew that we are on the right track. We also changed our approach to launching new technologies. Instead of silently putting in place what we have developed, we started to create advertising and informational launch campaigns. For example, when the SuperCacher was implemented, we created a blog post, an easy-to-understand inforgraphic, detailed tutorial, informational emails for the customers and more. All of the things described above were part of our re-branding effort, though they happened long before the the website and logo redesign. Now we have completed visually the process and we have a clear general message to guide all our future communication activities too.

 

What is the message you are trying to communicate and who is your target audience?

The main message we wanted to communicate better was that SiteGround is a cool and technologically advanced company, which has a very unusual approach to doing things that differs from what most of the other players in our segment do. We chose to build this message around the idea of being hand-crafted as opposed to being a product of the mass production.

The shared hosting, where we compete, is the most massively used service in our industry. My favorite way to describe what we wanted to achieve with the rebranding is by using a restaurant business allusion. We and our competitors were like the fast food chains. With the rebranding we did not aim to change the segment we compete at. We are not aiming to turn from a hamburger shop to a classy French restaurant; actually we are more after the image of a boutique sandwich shop. What we sell is still a sandwich, but the bread is baked in our own oven, the lettuce is grown in our garden and as a whole what we give you is much better for you than what the mass-market competitors provide. By changing the image we aim to speak better to the same audience and attract more of the people looking for shared hosting, as they will see us as something better, no as one of many. We also aim to capture some of the audience that was previously ignoring the whole segment, as being too low, but can now see something valuable in the shared hosting too.

How do you handle negative feedback on social media and other public forums?

I strongly believe that no feedback is bad if you handle it properly. Actually, we have received some negative reactions during the rebranding process. Some of them have helped us correct some issues before launching the new site and logo, other helped us learn how to communicate change more efficiently. I think that the most important rule for handling negative feedback is to ignore emotions and get to the essence. I have learned that no matter how rude someone has been in stating his or her opinion, and no matter how much you do not liked it at the beginning, if you strip away the emotions you can usually find a valid point that can be addressed to make things better.

Do you think the rebranding has been a success and how do you measure that?

The marketing strategy we currently follow is definitely successful. The measurement is easy – since we started it we see a steady and growing increase in sales volume and revenue. However, the success is not achieved by simply changing the logo, adding a new message and re-designing the website. The strategy to start communicating more effectively our strong sides has started long before the re-design. Truth is that the visual change of the website was the climax of this rebranding and definitely led to most visible results. However, if there was no solid ground for the new message and if we have not started to gradually change the perception of the people before the redesign, the rebranding would not have been so successful.

What is the luckiest thing that has happened to/at SiteGround?

The luckiest thing that has ever happened and continues to happen each day is the fact that there are so many awesome people, who choose to work at SiteGround.

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Meet The Host: SiteGround We take a picture tour through SiteGround's facilities.

Keeping Domain Names Separate From Web Hosting

Domain names and web hosting seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. You buy a domain name and connect it to your web hosting. It seems natural to have the two together. But I generally advocate against keeping your domain name registered with your web hosting company.

The main reason I advocate for keeping your domain name(s) separate from web hosting is because things are far more likely to go wrong with your web hosting before your domain name. Domain registrars are at least partially regulated, by ICANN. There is only one documented major registrar failure, RegisterFly, and stricter oversight has been put in place because of it. Domain registrars aren't perfect, but for the most part they serve one purpose: managing a domain name for a small fee. The majority of them are adequate at this function. Registrars have also standardized the process of transferring domain names between registrars. So switching registrars isn't terribly complicated (get transfer code, provide to new registrar, accept transfer). The registrar also has no influence on your domain name*.

Web hosts have full control of what your website can do. Almost all of them have restrictions in their terms of service (especially shared hosting) which limit what you can and can't do. If they have your domain name too, you can't simply change web hosts in the event of a problem or dispute. Your domain can be held hostage or as a bargaining chip to make sure you renew or pay them.

There is potentially a secondary problem with a web host registering a domain name for you. The ownership of the domain name comes into question. Do they register it in your name making you the legal owner or their company's name, making them the de facto owner.

The common arguments in favor of keeping your domain name with your web host are simplicity and cost. I can't argue against the simplicity argument. If having two accounts with different companies is too difficult for some reason, there is no counter argument. The cost argument shouldn't come into play when a domain name is around $10/year. It's a fairly low cost item relative to the amount of pain it can cause if something goes wrong.

In conclusion, unless you have some exceptional circumstance preventing you from keeping your domain separate from your web hosting, the two simply don't belong together at one company.

* Some registrars do have policies restricting the type of name, the content put on the domain and the activities a domain can be used for. These generally include spamming and illegal materials.

Meet The Host: SiteGround

This is the first post in our Meet The Host series. The idea is to let consumers see both the human side as well as the hardware side of the web hosting businesses through pictures.

Meet SiteGround (Website | Reviews)

SiteGround was founded in 2004. Today, it has 100 employees and over 250,000 domain names hosted. SiteGround also has three data centers in Chicago, Amsterdam and Singapore where their customers websites are hosted.

Quote from the Host:

What really makes the difference is our unique team and company culture. I am extremely proud to be part of a team that I can openly call a family - coming to the office doesn’t feel like coming to work, but coming to see friends with which we do fantastic things together.  Everyone is extremely helpful, knowledgeable and highly professional. Besides enjoying our great office, we also spend time together at company supported vacations, teambuilding and office parties.

- Tina Kesova, SiteGround

Photo Gallery:

The SiteGround office features open space, modern and relaxing atmosphere with more than 50 square feet of space per employee to foster creativity.

The SiteGround office features open space, modern and relaxing atmosphere with more than 50 square feet of space per employee to foster creativity.

This is where the technical masterminds live - the corner that hosts SiteGround software operations and senior support engineers.

This is where the technical masterminds live - the corner that hosts SiteGround software operations and senior support engineers.

 

The software developers work closely with the customer service teams to implement client feature requests.

The software developers work closely with the customer service teams to implement client feature requests.

SiteGround crew are real beer lovers too. A rare beer collection decorates the devs corner.

SiteGround crew are real beer lovers too. A rare beer collection decorates the devs corner.

 

The SiteGround HQ has 7 conference rooms to host meetings, trainings or day-to-day brainstorming sessions and welcome company partners and guests.

The SiteGround HQ has 7 conference rooms to host meetings, trainings or day-to-day brainstorming sessions and welcome company partners and guests.

Half of the SiteGround office is a big recreation area where SG folks play different kinds of games to relax and build even further the great team spirit that makes SiteGround what it really is – one of the friendliest hosting companies!

Half of the SiteGround office is a big recreation area where SG folks play different kinds of games to relax and build even further the great team spirit that makes SiteGround what it really is – one of the friendliest hosting companies!

The game and recreation area allows people to play foosball, table tennis, darts, pool table, and more.

The game and recreation area allows people to play foosball, table tennis, darts, pool table, and more.

 

SiteGround invests in the education and professional growth of their employees and provides free books and a library area where SG team members can sit down and read in a quiet area.

SiteGround invests in the education and professional growth of their employees and provides free books and a library area where SG team members can sit down and read in a quiet area.

 

The SiteGround team knows how to party and never misses a chance to get together and celebrate big company milestones. Then, the office becomes a party corner that can even host casino games.

The SiteGround team knows how to party and never misses a chance to get together and celebrate big company milestones. Then, the office becomes a party corner that can even host casino games.

 

Each year the company organizes a teambuilding where all employees get together in informal surroundings to build further the team spirit.

Each year the company organizes a teambuilding where all employees get together in informal surroundings to build further the team spirit.

 

Working hard, partying hard! Besides building reliable hosting platforms and climbing high peaks at teambuildings, the SiteGround people know how to have fun together.

Working hard, partying hard! Besides building reliable hosting platforms and climbing high peaks at teambuildings, the SiteGround people know how to have fun together.

Amsterdam Data Center - A power distribution unit (PDU) and a standard row of cabinets, full of SiteGround servers.

Amsterdam Data Center - A power distribution unit (PDU) and a standard row of cabinets, full of SiteGround servers.

Chicago Data Center - The Chicago datacenter is organized into computer rooms like this, each one being about 30,000 square feet in size. The SiteGround servers reside in rooms like this one.

Chicago Data Center - The Chicago datacenter is organized into computer rooms like this, each one being about 30,000 square feet in size. The SiteGround servers reside in rooms like this one.

Singapore Data Center - The Singapore layouts are designed to allow the most dense population on the row possible, while ensuring rack power availability allows for full failover.

Singapore Data Center - The Singapore layouts are designed to allow the most dense population on the row possible, while ensuring rack power availability allows for full failover.

Singapore Data Center - Redundant APC power strips provide power to SiteGround dual-path servers.

Singapore Data Center - Redundant APC power strips provide power to SiteGround dual-path servers.

A large thank you goes to Tina at SiteGround who helped collect and caption the photos for this post. I hope you enjoyed our first edition of our Meet The Host series.

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