I have scoured the search interface for such a topic, but i was not able to find one, to my dismay. If anyone informs me to the location of it, i will be much happy to carry over this post.
I think it would be a very pleasant reading to read how different people started their businesses in hosting, i myself want very much to read different experiences people had.
As for me, in 2002 November, after noticing that the local host i used to host my and my client's websites has been developing severe downtime and hack problems, (there was no mod_basedir protection and some 'hackers' were using this to good effect for deface attacks) and parleying with them for some weeks, i have decided to move to another host. Gauging how much a quality hosting cost me over a year, and seeing that it i had quite a many sites to host and sufficient experience of web matters at hand, i have decided to start a web hosting. I guess quite a many people have the same startup history eh ?
In another industry I am a nationally-known speaker giving seminars on marketing & sales (service providers). In my seminars I would always mention how cost-effective web sites were and how necessary they were in today's marketplace. I started including that about 8 years ago after seeing the success of my own web site in that industry.
Every time I spoke people would come up after and say something to the effect of "yeah, I'd like a web site but they wanted $1,500 to build one and $35 a month to host it, and I don't want to invest that".
So I started a niche business for those people offering basic web design (these folks were basic service providers, they didn't need a lot) at reasonable prices and then set up a reseller account to host my initial designs...the rest as they say is history. By last year we had grown to host more sites in that industry than any single firm (not the company in my signature) so we had long-since outgrown "reseller" stuff, many customers moved to us with their existing sites because we were reasonable instead of $35 a month for a 15 MB site with less than 1 GB traffic (which is what many of these people had and were paying!). During the growing process of the "sideline" of hosting I learned by necessity, along the way.
Then over a year ago I found I was technically totally disabled (don't get me started on the government; but I couldn't even apply for disability due to the way my previous business was set up and it wasn't due to accident or specific injury, that equaled no income)
So the only obvious option was to start a more "full time" web hosting business and move from just the "niche" company (which I still have) to "public" type hosting, but using the same practices I had developed for my "niche" customers...the old adage of "under-promise and over-deliver" and trying to treat others as I would want to be treated. Believe me in my early days of having just my own site hosted then a REALLY bad reseller account or 2 at first, I didn't want to be in that category.
So now here I am, and like everybody else keep trying to keep up with what's new & what's happening. Striving to provide good service & keep people happy. And of course trying to find the same answer everybody else is: "how do I get more customers & compete without the unlimited ad budget the "big boys" have?"
Maybe someday I'll figure out how to make money at it but I always remember my other business (before web hosting) took about 3-4 years of constant "struggles" before I got that one figured out. (and personally I'm not going to "grow" by promising 5GB storage and 30 GB transfer for $2)
A different story than most will post probably, but in short, my entry was kind-of by accident & circumstance more than intentions of "hey I think I'll start a hosting company".
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I started in 1994, while I was at the University, providing support and training people on how to use the Internet. Then in 1996 started a french language web portal named WebDépart in order to suggest interesting web sites to new Internet users.
The portal had big hosting needs and I had a hard time finding a hosting provider that would fit my needs. At the same time I merged my company with a friend's company and though we would do web design (like everyone else was starting to do at the time). We had bad experiences with some shared web hosting providers for the hosting of our portal and our clients web sites so we decided to go dedicated to handle our web hosting needs and the hosting needs of our clients.
Because of the portal, we made a lot of contacts with other french language webmasters ... we started providing hosting for them since they had the same problems finding a good hosting provider. Then, we though we should specialize in providing web hosting services in french because there were few or no alternative for french speaking webmasters. That was our "niche" at the time.
Between 1998 and 2000 we were listed on Netcraft.Com as one (I think in the Top5) of DigitalNation/Verio's biggest resellers in term of domain names hosted on our servers there. We grew from 3-4 employees to 10 and we were still doing web design. In 1999 or 2000 I am not sure of the exact date, we decided to sell (we gave it for free) our web design operations to another company to concentrate on hosting.
DigitalNation was sold to Verio and customer service started to be bad. At that time, we also started to colocate some servers at a local colocation provider. We had our offices on the first floor of an historical building in the Old Montreal, more space was available in the basement of the building below us. My partner decided we would rent that space, build a stairway between that space and our office and build a little datacenter there.
We completed our first ~1000 square foot datacenter with a $100 000 budget, had 6 hours of UPS battery power and were lucky to count on redundant electricity power getting into that building. At the end of 2001 we started to offer hosting in english and started to enter the dedicated server market with agressive offers. In 2002 our little datacenter was full with about 200 servers. We started to see bigger.
We are now a 25 employees company listed on the stock market (TSX:IWB), the owners of a 10 000 square foot building including a 5000 square foot datacenter hosting about 2000 servers and growing fast.
I'm afraid my story is very short aswell... Several years ago I purchased a personal website, but it suffered from a lot of down time. I then decided to start my own company, and decided a resellers account would be the best start up method, just to see how the business developed. It then progressed from there!
Last edited by DJBW; 06-24-2005 at 05:04 PM.
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We started out as a Web design company in 1999 under the name Neuro Nitrate Design Services, we designed lots of sites for the gaming and adult industry back in the day when you could charge 10 - 20K to build a nice website. (Ahh the good old days! There was a lot of money in that industry, but it is too saturated now). We are no longer involved with the gaming industry at all anymore.
Anyway we were sending design customers of ours over to a local hosting company to have their sites hosted (50.00 a month I think it was... I think they got 25MB Disk space and 1 GB Bandwidth if they were lucky! Another back in the day thing right there).
Our natural progression was to move in to hosting. Now we barely do any design becasue of lack of our intrest. We still take on projects but they have to be large.
Thats our story.
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Sure, I'll share mine. I'm disappointed there aren't more sharing their stories, as I think it'd be interesting.
Before ZapX Technologies, I had been trying to start up this website called programmershaven.org, probably for a good year or so. That one went from free host to free host, (I was limited on money), all of which turned out, well, not too good.
But during that time i started to become curious how web sites were actually hosted on the internet. By the way that's how I got interested in programming too, becoming curious how web sites and programs were made. Anyway this curiosity lingered for about 4 months or so I'd say, then near the end of last year someone approached me about starting a web hosting company. Since I had been interested in that for a few months, I agreed with him.
As we began to plan everything out, I started to feel this person wasn't very trustworthy, which I soon confirmed. In addition, he decided to buy this $5 reseller account, which seemed, well, a bit too cheap.
Anyway, I decided I'd be better off on my own, so I split off from him. I ended up starting off with a reseller at HostGator, and a few of my friends helped me plan out everything. We just kind of grew from there. The first customers I hosted were just friends, people I knew online, etc. Then we started posting in the forums and all, very zealously I might add.
Friends told friends, we posted tutorials in places like Pixel2life which attracted some to the forums and also a few signed up for hosting, plus I continued to post around here.
After just over a month with HostGator (too many server issues), I moved to ServInt, then PowerVps last week.
I won't say how many customers I have now, but it's more than I would have ever expected by this time, and continues to grow.