Interview with Vincentas Grinius, CEO of Host1Plus
Host1Plus has built a reputation of being one of the most affordable and flexible hosting providers, offering a broad selection of web, reseller and VPS hosting locations worldwide. We sat down with Vincentas Grinius, the CEO and co-founder of Host1Plus to find out what keeps this company going and to discuss future plans.
Can you tell us about Host1Plus and how the company was established?
Our story dates back to 2008, when we started as a small web hosting company. At the time we offered our services in the UK and Lithuania. About half a year later, we launched new web hosting locations in the Netherlands, Germany and Singapore – that’s how fast it all went.
As we reached more than 5,000 clients in 2010, we have evaluated our potential and noticed that web hosting is not that interesting anymore. As a result, we started expanding in the US and launched Cloud BETA hosting that same year. The BETA phase was an important milestone for research and development when we encountered the most important flaws that we needed to work on. I am guessing that it could have been too wide of a leap to go straight from web hosting to advanced Cloud hosting solutions and we were not quite ready yet.
However, we always strive for improvement. We have been working on our Cloud infrastructure for a while now and we are ready to step forward with a completely new and superior product.
Of course, it did not prevent us from trying new markets and searching for new opportunities for business development. In 2012, we presented VPS hosting, which was great success since.
What is your background and how did you end up co-founding the company?
I have founded Host1Plus together with my long-time colleague and friend Andrius Kazlauskas. The idea was to create an online strategic game and we realized we needed some multi-locational servers to support the infrastructure. We thought multi-location as a service for web hosting was going to be interesting for the market. No other companies offered more than a few locations, so we started to work on this and it took off.
Where do you stand today? What services do you offer?
Here at Host1Plus we provide a wide range of web hosting services for different needs. Flexible web hosting and reseller hosting plans offer a selection of different resources with the ability to upgrade anytime. Our container-based VPS hosting is the most popular service, deservedly appreciated for its price, value and flexibility – you can fully manage your VPS in the internal UI and add additional resources anytime. That said, additional features like IPv6 support, DNS and rDNS management, and other increased control options make us really stand out from other VPS providers.
However, what we truly believe is that it’s time to put the focus on the people, not simply the product. When we launch a product, everyone in the company is very excited about the technical specs and all the benefits it brings, and it’s easy to assume that our customer feels the same way. But usually they don’t.
They care about their problems and how our product is going to fit into their life. We cannot just talk about what our product does or why it’s superior; we need to show them a compelling picture of how it’s going to make their life better. That’s what gets people excited. And that’s exactly what we are working on right now while preparing the launch of Cloud hosting this year.
Right now we are working on Cloud infrastructure to introduce a new platform based on self-storage. There will be multi-locational and multi-regional selections with plenty integrated features. The new service will be launched later this year, with beta Cloud coming out in late April.
What about the locations of your services? Your website mentions multi-location VPS hosting on 4 continents. Where are they?
Our multi-location hosting is based on 8 data centers worldwide – London, UK; Frankfurt, Germany; Siauliai, Lithuania; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Chicago, US; Los Angeles, US; São Paulo, Brazil and Johannesburg, South Africa.
On that note, where are your clients based? What's the breakdown?
The majority of our client base is in the Americas and Europe. We have a pretty decent amount of users from Asia-Pacific, with a significantly growing number of clients from China.
What types of clients do you normally serve?
I would say mostly SMBs and freelance developers.
Where are your offices based? How many people are at the company?
Our main office is located in Kaunas, Lithuania, with more than 50 people working hard to make the best of what we do - marketing, technical support, NOC, developers, sales... We also have an additional office in São Paulo, Brazil for our Portuguese-speaking technical support. We have already tried to outsource customer support completely, but it didn't work out. As we always put our focus on the quality of direct communication with the client and effective assistance, working with our own team of skilled specialists is what works for us best right now.
What hosting environments do you offer to your customers? What distributions and OSes?
As we provide Linux-based VPS hosting services, we offer the most popular distributions, such as Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, SUSE and Debian. Windows will be offered when we introduce Cloud services later this year.
Would you say your core focus is on hosting? I notice you also have domains and SSL certificates. Are you adding to those offerings in the future?
As mentioned before, our focus is on providing the best hosting experience for all clients, with an emphasis on VPS and soon-to-be Cloud services, which, we believe, are of the utmost importance in the near future of the hosting industry.
What open source projects have you embraced?
Being passionate about technology and innovation, we do have a dedicated sponsorship program to support brilliant ideas, including open source initiatives, such as Fedora, CentOS and Chakra.
What are your plans for the next 3 years?
We will be concentrating on keeping the balance between a feature-rich service and a good price. Of course, we will keep doing what we do best – expanding and upgrading our worldwide locations to reach immaculate service quality in any part of the world.