Where do hosting companies get their support from? I mean some hosting companies aren't even within a mile of their server. So where do they buy support employees? Are their packages that offere full support for you when reselling? I always did manual email between myself and users. If there was something i couldn't answer i forwarded it to my server company and they gladly oblige.
Some companies have outsourced support and others have their own staff
As for having physical access to the hardware, people who do not have physical access will have an upstream provider who provides them with "hands and eyes". The datacenter techs do the stuff that can't be done remotely.
Well, servers can technically be administered remotely via SSH or RDC and for the most parts as long as the servers are still accessible via those avenue, the tech support doesn't need to be right infront of the server to do the work.
Most of the times, web hosting companies rent servers from the datacenters and thus those things such as physical work to be done on the server or hard rebooting them would land in the hands of the datacenter tech support.
If the web hosting company is huge, they may actually station their own staffs in the datacenter to do the necessary legwork.
We do what alot of UK web hosts do. We own the machines and take out physical full racks from the data-facilities. Included with our rackspace/power there is a number of minutes of remote hands included, usually around 15mins/day per rack footprint. In the event of a problem the remote hands guys cannot solve, we are located around 25-35 minutes away from the datacentre and then attend site ourselves. This is what i'd call general practice among reasonable sized UK hosts.
I have once encountered a support agent with Indian accent on the phone in my inquiry with one big hosting provider in the US. So I suppose that there maybe some kind of Tier 1 support or Sales support representative outsourced somewhere outside the US (although this fellow maybe in the US as well).
I am in Asia and I know a lot of big companies now outsource their sales support and tech support (both for phone calls, emails and chats) to outsourcing companies here.
Its just hard to say where one is located because normally these companies including their employees sign NDAs and stuff with the client.
As far as support is concern there can be multiple options depending upon the size and need of business:
A. In-house Support team ( medium and large companies or companies with non English support )
B. Onsite support ( Data Centers + large hosting companies)
C. Freelances support ( small size companies )
D. On call support ( Small size companies and start ups )
E. Outsourced Support ( Small , medium and large companies + data centers)
Hope this helps
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