How did you get started in the Web Hosting Business?

Gecko

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#1
I'm curious as to how some of our members got started in the web hosting business. I'm curious as to if you started out wanting to start a hosting company or if it was just something that you wound up in for one reason or another.

I have a business contact that started out doing web design and later down the road he wound up offering hosting for his clients that needed or were looking for web hosting for their websites. After a year or so he was doing well enough with selling web hosting that he decided to drop doing the web designing services since that took a lot of time and he was able to make more money by just marketing/promoting his web hosting services and not having to put in the same amount of hours of work.

He has since sold his business off and is in a non-related field. I have heard some other stories as to how people got started in the web hosting business and some are quite unique.

I'd like to hear how some of our members got started with their web hosting business. Was it something that you had planned on getting into? How did you get started?
 

RDO Servers

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#2
We started off in a vary similar way. We started as a web development company in 2006. In 2009, we leased a dedicated server for hosting our web development customers websites.

By 2014, we had 2 shared hosting servers, a VPS node, several dedicated server customers, and 3 secure PCI clusters. This is when we decided to go public with our web hosting offerings. We found a high quality Colo provider, setup a redundant network, and moved all servers to our own hardware.
 

energizedit

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#3
Similar story. Started in I.T. field, started maintaining a website for someone, then started designing websites for people, including setting up hosting for them. Decided I liked doing web hosting more than designing and building websites so in 2009 started the hosting business. Still do sites for people who request and site updates, though.
 

Gecko

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#4
We started off in a vary similar way. We started as a web development company in 2006. In 2009, we leased a dedicated server for hosting our web development customers websites.

By 2014, we had 2 shared hosting servers, a VPS node, several dedicated server customers, and 3 secure PCI clusters. This is when we decided to go public with our web hosting offerings. We found a high quality Colo provider, setup a redundant network, and moved all servers to our own hardware.
Looking back now, was the hosting business what you thought it would be before you started the business?

I know that many things that I have gotten into online over the years were not exactly what I thought they would be. Some were better and some, well let's just say, were not as great as I thought.


Similar story. Started in I.T. field, started maintaining a website for someone, then started designing websites for people, including setting up hosting for them. Decided I liked doing web hosting more than designing and building websites so in 2009 started the hosting business. Still do sites for people who request and site updates, though.
What is it about web hosting that you liked better than designing? I can't speak about the hosting part but I am not the biggest fan of designing myself. I like building websites but the designing part seems to just take more time as I am always wanting to make so many changes as I go that it gets to be a pain sometimes.
 

RDO Servers

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#9
RDO Servers
A web hosting business is a business. You have to have a solid business plan, and be prepared for things to not go the way you want them to all the time.

Has it been exactly what we thought it would be?
No.
Are we glad we got into the hosting business?
Yes.
Is web hosting a super easy way to make a bunch of money online?
No!!!!! It's a business, and you have to be prepared to work for it!
 
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#5
Started out fixing computers locally saving money once I saved enough I bought a suite in a data center and never looked back now its a daily thing building out data center space.
 

radwebhosting

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#6
Started a Web Hosting company to learn about web hosting companies for my job in sales at a data center/infrastructure provider. Turns out I like server virtualization more than I like sales. ;)
 

Gecko

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#7
Started out fixing computers locally saving money once I saved enough I bought a suite in a data center and never looked back now its a daily thing building out data center space.
Wow, that would be cool to work on the hardware in a data center! Well for me it would be but I don't know if those that do it as a job would feel the same.


Started a Web Hosting company to learn about web hosting companies for my job in sales at a data center/infrastructure provider. Turns out I like server virtualization more than I like sales. ;)
Well I can understand that, I have never likes sales too much myself. ;)
 
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#8

WPCycle

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#11
I tend to go on and on when it comes to writing out things...so I will try to condense.

I started out in music many eons ago from High School. Started out a DJ in my last years of school doing parties and some clubs, and after leaving school, working full time jobs in the day like Peter and Clarke and playing gigs at night like Spidey and Superman. A few years after, another friend of a friend from our school had a Hip Hop group and needed a DJ. I was working with a few other DJ's on some events, but never directly with an artist of group. After helping that friend with a few events...it lead to building a business which included working with other artists, releasing CD's, touring, two studios, being a producer and engineer, a store, and leaving a job to become self employed in music full time. Lots and lots of stories :)

Within working with musical clients...some would need a simple HTML website to promote their name/brand, any released music, and any upcoming shows. Nothing complicated since most of my time was working on music. Around 2006 the business (or marriage when you really think about working with a business partner) had some issues that lead to shutting things down. Around the same time I had a young family, so I decided to stay home, watch the children, and design and maintain websites of the previous musical clients.

From there, it somewhat follows the path of others; close clients -> referrals -> more design work -> more referrals -> a reseller account -> a few VPS accounts -> Dedi-Servers -> to be continued.

Part of the reason of becoming a host was to eliminate the countless wasted hours of servicing clients websites on bad hosts or dealing with support who would rather resolve an issue in 50 hours instead of 30 minutes.

One thing I sometimes do in a hosting thread is compare it to a musical reference. Sometimes people see music as all fun and not realize that the actual music is 5% of the business. The 95% that's missed operates very similar to the web hosting industry.

For instance...top 10 songs on commercial radio...DJ's are paid by record labels to over-promote a song to make it appear "hot". No different than "top 10 web hosts" websites.

College and University radio shows...the DJ's will play what the listeners want to hear...and those songs are usually from the lesser known artists. Known in the "underground" circuit with hundreds and a few thousands of loyal fans, compared to those who are commerical with millions of fans. Ironically, both can be globally known. No different than a host like HostGator compared to well known smaller hosts you would find on here.
 

Gecko

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#12
be prepared for things to not go the way you want them to all the time.
THIS is something that I think that many people these days don't take the time to plan for or even put much thought into. I think that people these days tend to think that things are always going to come easy when it comes to making money through the internet in one form or another. A good business makes plans, a better business includes plans for what to do and how to handle the things that happen that you were or are not expecting or wanting to happen!

It's a business, and you have to be prepared to work for it!
This is the mindset that more people need to have. Working hard will help you achieve your business goals. Sitting back and waiting for things to happen will leave you waiting!


I tend to go on and on when it comes to writing out things...so I will try to condense.
That's ok, that's something that I myself will do on many occasions. ;)

Part of the reason of becoming a host was to eliminate the countless wasted hours of servicing clients websites on bad hosts or dealing with support who would rather resolve an issue in 50 hours instead of 30 minutes.
So you were using EIG hosting huh? :hysterical:

One thing I sometimes do in a hosting thread is compare it to a musical reference.
I do that a lot myself, not with music references but references to other things I know well or those I am talking to know well.



P.S. I was wondering how you came up with the name for your hosting service?
 

WPCycle

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#13
That's ok, that's something that I myself will do on many occasions. ;)
Yup. It then leads to paragraphs of text and "oh my" I've typed way to much compared to other responses :)

So you were using EIG hosting huh? :hysterical:
Yup. Good ol HG. The funny thing...I left when growing pains was the issue. When I signed up, reseller accounts ran smoothly, and I had almost zero issues. A few years in, reoccurring database issues for clients websites, and other minor issues here and there. Between support taking longer and the issues, I left. I think it was about 3 or 4 years later when the news broke out about HG and EIG. My initial encounter with EIG was when they bought Netfirms. A few clients were with them and moved to my services once Netfirms fell apart. Quite sad since they were about 15 minutes away from my home.


P.S. I was wondering how you came up with the name for your hosting service?
Well the initial name was 48-14, a name I came up with while working in music. The concept behind the name...musicians are like mutants with special abilities, but also like Superheroes who stay up all night saving the world (or playing gigs) to come home and sleep for 2 hours, and go right back to work at 9am. So for some, there world is 24/7, while our world is 48-14. It's still name that's special since I used it for a few things, but when it comes to SEO which was never a thought at the time...not so good. It was the company name for some years.

The current name is a combination of a love for Mountain bikes and WordPress. It was time for a fresh start, re-branding, and a solid focus towards the new name.
 

Gecko

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#14
Yup. Good ol HG. The funny thing...I left when growing pains was the issue. When I signed up, reseller accounts ran smoothly, and I had almost zero issues. A few years in, reoccurring database issues for clients websites, and other minor issues here and there. Between support taking longer and the issues, I left. I think it was about 3 or 4 years later when the news broke out about HG and EIG. My initial encounter with EIG was when they bought Netfirms. A few clients were with them and moved to my services once Netfirms fell apart. Quite sad since they were about 15 minutes away from my home.
Yeah, I remember the good ole' days when HostGator was pretty good. Too bad EIG has to swallow up something good and then break it all down. :(


The current name is a combination of a love for Mountain bikes and WordPress. It was time for a fresh start, re-branding, and a solid focus towards the new name.
I like it because there is no confusion with others. I like domains to be original and unique.

I used to be a big MB enthusiast myself but I have been out of them for the most part the last several years due to time constraints. That and the fact that age is catching up with me. ;)
 

WPCycle

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#15
I like it because there is no confusion with others. I like domains to be original and unique.
Thank :)

I used to be a big MB enthusiast myself but I have been out of them for the most part the last several years due to time constraints. That and the fact that age is catching up with me. ;)
I got more into MBing when I worked in a bike store almost 20 years ago. Geez time flies. Time and all those stories took me away from it, but many years and moves later, I still have one of my two bikes. One was a beast and one was for the city commute. I gave my older brother the city bike and kept the beast ;)

I believe age should not be a factor. One lady on my street rides her bike occasionally....and I believe she's either late 80's or early 90's. A lot of original home owners live in my area. Last year the beast made it back on the road, and the children all got new bikes for the summer. I think we rode at 4 or 5 times a week in summer. We held off for a few years since we knew any bike we bought then, they would grow out of them within two years or less.
 

Semayra

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#16
I started with renting a Dedicated Server for my Personal Website in 2010, on which i provided hosting to few friends also [Free of cost]..later.. My dedicated server replaced himself as money making machine.

After 2 Years,i formally started Web Hosting Business with some investment.
Now when i think about those days ... i found it like fairy tale
 

Gecko

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#17
I started with renting a Dedicated Server for my Personal Website in 2010, on which i provided hosting to few friends also [Free of cost]
Well you are a much nicer friend than mine, they have never given me free web hosting! ;)

After 2 Years,i formally started Web Hosting Business with some investment.
Now when i think about those days ... i found it like fairy tale
Well it sounds like you have enjoyed how things have worked out for you and that is very good.

Is the web hosting business what you thought it would be like?
 
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#18
Arch was founded by two very motivated individuals. One was a front-end dev and the other was a back-end. They regularly worked together on freelance projects together and shared a passion for business. One day the back-end dev decided to start a web hosting business, and invested large sums of his saved up money for server equipment, and spent every waking hour for a few months learning advanced server management to better serve his clients. His business expertise and love of back-end software/hardware made the company take off. Eventually the front-end dev joined in and they hired a team of very talented individuals. The rest is history.
 

Gecko

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#19
Arch was founded by two very motivated individuals. One was a front-end dev and the other was a back-end.
One day the back-end dev decided to start a web hosting business, and invested large sums of his saved up money for server equipment, and spent every waking hour for a few months learning advanced server management to better serve his clients.
Eventually the front-end dev joined in and they hired a team of very talented individuals.
So Arch was actually founded by one person, the back-end dev, right?
 
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#20
I learned the basics when working for a small dial-up ISP. We did everything by hand, even billing.

When I started my first hosting business, It was in response to a comment from a friend and later business partner. I was building hobby-websites for people. Completely free. My friend asked me "Why don't you do this for money?" and my reply was "There is probably more money in hosting than design, at least with my skills".

A lot of chatting later, and 3 weeks passed before I had a check to purchase my first 2 servers which I personally transported to a COLO in the Western-Union building near CBOT. I believe we started off with 384kbps bandwidth.

It was hard to start off with nothing, and move forward but we did. We went from Chicago to NYC to Atlantic City and eventually to Denver, CO with our servers. Always chasing a bargain, and trying to expand our offerings without expanding our costs. Eventually my business partners passed away (both of them) and I was forced to dismantle the business as per our agreement when we formed our LLC. I kept some of the assets and worked them part-time on my own and then eventually merged with my current business partners.

I joined with them not to start a new hosting business but because we had shared interests and a dream for a website. We worked hard, and built an enterprise infrastructure to host our one site, and have in the last few years decided to open up our hosting again. I guess in 15 years I've gone from 2x COLO'd servers to Multiple Cabinets with Redundant power and network drops.
 

Gecko

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#21
I learned the basics when working for a small dial-up ISP. We did everything by hand, even billing.
Nothing helps you learn better than actual hands-on experience. :D

"There is probably more money in hosting than design, at least with my skills".
That's probably something I would have said about myself. Design was never a strong point of mine.

Are you glad that things took the path that they did ad you arrived where you are now?

Eventually my business partners passed away (both of them) and I was forced to dismantle the business as per our agreement when we formed our LLC. I kept some of the assets and worked them part-time on my own and then eventually merged with my current business partners.
Ouch, I bet that was hard to deal with. :(



No matter how good, bad, easy or hard things are in our lives, those experiences make us what we are today!
 

Dewlance

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#22
I was so scared by name of "School" and always wanted to avoid "reading books". I was try to escape from 10th grade (In our country there is a grade from 1st to 12th)

So I was started my company in 10th grade and wanted to escape from reading book or going to school but my company was fully established after I finish all grades and leave school ;/
 
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#23
Many years ago I was a regular in AOL's Computing Chat (remember chat rooms?) and hosting would be discussed on occasion and as a result I started researching more into hosting and what goes into it (control panels, the different types of hosting, etc). Eventually a group of regulars from the chat room setup an IRC server and one of the regulars on IRC worked for a company called TowardEX. At that time they offered hosting and I had both my dad (who owned a local HVAC business) and a friend of mine who did web design who both needed a place to host websites so I purchased a reseller package from TorwardEX and started hosting websites for them and continued to gain local customers via word of mouth, especially from friends (and some friends of friends eventually) who were doing their freelance web design.

I've stuck with it because it's something I enjoy. I like to provide services to people and help them with their issues when they have them.
 
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