HostAdvice Speaks to A2 (Once Again!) : Current Trends And What The Future Holds For A2 Hosting

Today we had a chance to talk to Bryan Muthig, the CEO and co-founder of A2 Hosting.
It was a pleasure doing an interview with her, and we recommend everyone to take a few minutes and read the story behind A2 Hosting, and their secret to success.

HostAdvice Speaks to A2 (Once Again!): current trends and what the future holds for A2 Hosting

1) We interviewed you four years ago, can you tell us about how your brand has matured and changed since then?

Let’s start with what has remained constant since we last spoke: our commitment to giving customers the fastest and most stable hosting experience possible. Website speed and performance is at the core of everything we have done and continue to do.

Speed is a primary driver for our customers. This is partly because of Google’s push for speed in its search algorithm. It’s also partly because of the growing importance of fast, reliable end customer experiences for end customer retention purposes. For example, we often see our customers coming to us to reduce page and cart load times, which in turn reduces website abandonment. Every second counts and we aim  to shave off as many of those seconds as possible from each web interaction.

But you asked specifically about what’s changed since 2016. We’ve evolved our customer target focus after gaining an even stronger understanding of how our differentiation from competitors benefits specific market segments.  To that point, we’ve tightened our focus on  small- and medium-sized businesses as well as web professionals.

The SMB market is the largest growing segment of the Internet and we are uniquely qualified to service them. As a traditional hosting company, we offer several product lines from shared hosting all the way up to dedicated servers. Regardless the size of the customer, we likely have a product that is tailored to their needs. It doesn’t matter if they are just starting out and need an affordable shared hosting plan or whether they’ve grown to tens of thousands of visitors and need several dedicated servers to run their website.

It’s also important to note that we are a global hosting company with multiple international data centers to select from. This enables us to serve customers wherever they are in the world.

2) Tell us a bit about A2 Hosting and how you got started and any relevant challenges you faced when starting out

As I have mentioned before, I personally started in UNIX administration. My original business partner and I co-founded A2 Hosting in 2001 as a hobby. The company grew organically over time. By 2006, A2 Hosting supported us full time and, a few years after that, I ended up buying out my business partner and running the company by myself. We continued to grow the business and add folks over time. And, as of today, we are over one hundred and eighty team members and growing.

Eventually, a company grows large enough that one person can’t manage everything. Which leads me to the third part of your question. The hardest part about growing the company is building the right team. One that reflects and nurtures the desired culture while including the right mix of talent and passion. I think, though, we’ve gotten smarter about how to do this as we’re seeing better and better results year over year.

First, our leadership team is a tight knit group of individuals that share our core values and are dedicated to helping us achieve our goal of offering fast websites, fast service, and fast setup to businesses and web professionals. Second, being a fully remote company, we’ve made a concerted effort to find the best talent anywhere in the world–we have totally leveraged the fact that we are not locked to a specific region. Which has all fed into my last point: over the past couple of years we’ve really succeeded at hiring rock stars into key positions and it has made a huge difference. I’m proud of the team we’ve built to date and the work they are doing. These are exciting times.

3) What is your USP, what makes your company stand out from the crowd?

Our focus on speed is currently our largest distinguishing feature. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of hosting companies come out and claim they compete with us on that. However, we rarely see the data that backs it up. In fact, what we do see is that they build servers with newer hardware but then overpack them with customers, which actually reduces website performance and speed.

We believe in offering a true speed advantage to customers by offering blazing fast hardware and software and by carefully balancing the number of customers per server to maintain the performance benefits of that new hardware. In fact, our team’s entire focus in 2020 was refreshing our product lines to make sure that we are running on the most cutting edge hardware with the most optimized configurations possible. It’s all core to our mission.

Of course every hosting company has to be stable and maintain uptime, that is just required today. But with respect to speed, we are unmatched. We are stable and fast and our customers love us for that

4) Where do you see the web hosting industry as a whole in the short/medium/long-term?

We see customers becoming more educated in what they need for hosting and asking lots of great questions. We also see an ever-increasing need for more resources for customer websites as they grow.

We’ve seen a large increase in the number of customers selecting a Virtual Private Server (VPS) plan to get them started. We expect this trend to continue as speed and technical resources such as RAM, disk space, and CPU performance optimization continue to be crucial factors for customers running CMS’s like WordPress to manage their site.

As a result we also are seeing more demand for Bare Metal Dedicated (BMD) servers as online businesses need dedicated resources to run their own ecommerce websites or SaaS applications. Related, we’re very excited about our upcoming refresh of our BMD product line. We expect customers will see a huge jump in performance as compared to some of  competitive offerings.

5) What are your long-term plans and have they been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our long term plan is to continue strengthening A2 Hosting’s position as a top tier, global hosting company. We will do that by continuing to do what we’ve always done: by focusing on what our customers need us to provide.

With the move to more online selling, order delivery by stores and restaurants, and new home-based businesses, we’ve been experiencing significant growth over the past year. It’s logical that many of those trends were driven by COVID-19. But, as we have been a fully remote company for years, we were able to seamlessly service those new and existing customers with the same level of support they expect. Having a  remote team also meant we could effectively social distance without overhead or change in protocols, keeping our team healthy and safe. .

6) Finally, what does the future hold for A2 Hosting and are there interesting/new paths you will seek to tread?

We continue to see WordPress dominate the Internet as the go-to software for building out a website. A2 Hosting currently hosts tens of thousands of WordPress websites. And, we’ve started to leverage our extensive knowledge of WordPress hosting to build tools and hosting plans specifically for these customers. We’ll be bringing our same focus on speed and stability seen in our core hosting products to our future WordPress products.

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