Sometimes only a superhero can come to the rescue and help you with your hosting problems. In this interview we are speaking with Mr. Chirag Aggarwal, from VapourHost, so we can learn more about their products and services that they are offering.
Read this interview and find out how can VapourHost superhero team can help you.
Before we start, we did a little research on VapourHost and noticed that you started working in 2016. Can you tell us a bit more about the idea behind your company?
Chirag: VapourHost was started with the idea of ending horrible and often unethical practices followed by large corporations who only have one purpose, squeezing profit.
I started working on our idea for this company with my partner Chirag Agarwal (yes, we share a common name) 5 years back. What’s interesting is how it started. We didn’t just decide to open a hosting company instead we both were bloggers and customers ourselves. So we both got to first-hand experience the horrible practices and service of providers we used. That was the main driving force that led to this venture.
We wanted to solve these problems and hence after 6 months of research and planning, we decided to launch our hosting service. When we were in the planning stage, we listed down all the issues we have individually faced and how we can save others from the same headache. While we are still not perfect, we have made huge progress towards realizing our goal.
We couldn’t miss the superhero on your website that represents your company that can help the customers. What are the core values of your company?
Chirag: We have a name for him, Vapourous. Since we started, we have had the “customer-first” approach which I believe is our most defining quality. Like almost all superheroes, Vapourus is meant to show our values of morality, ethics, and ambitions. The hosting industry, especially D2C, has been saturated for a very long time where a handful of companies control a major chunk of the market. Some are using their market presence and huge money reserves to manipulate the market. We have a simple driving principle, customer satisfaction.
We want to grow our presence steadily into different markets one at a time so we can actually stay in touch with our customers and understand from their perspective what we need to improve upon. These values stand behind our company and help us stay focused on our goals.
As a start-up back in 2016, what were the main challenges that you were facing in terms of growing the company?
Chirag: When we started our primary focus was the blogging community where we were active. Gaining the reputation and trust of seasoned webmasters was not an easy task. It also isn’t easy to sustain in such a volatile industry as a new name. A lot of our initial customers were already exhausted with their old providers and building trust was therefore difficult.
There was a lot of speculation and doubt at the beginning which we had to overcome and establish a reputation. Only then we could bring forth our vision and share the goals with like-minded people. Otherwise, they would have been just empty words.
Secondly, we both were in High School when we began working on this project so there were issues like funding and time management. We had to make sure we aren’t scaling too fast or too slow so we gradually and steadily built our platform ensuring that we don’t lose focus of our goals and have a firm foundation. And over the years we have reinvested our profit back into the business to grow and improve the overall service.
What are the main products and services of VapourHost?
Chirag: We understand that different websites have different requirements and customers often need a personalized service suited to their needs. For this reason, we currently offer a total of 6 hosting plans among 3 categories. This allows our potential customers to order what they would need to successfully run their sites.
In addition to this, we are soon going to launch our new service line-up focused on a specific market, WordPress, and community which helped us grow during the initial stages.
As global internet traffic is increasing every day, hosting resource requirements and expectations are also increasing for our customers. To adjust to these needs, we also periodically review our offerings and I believe our upcoming Managed WordPress plans and future planned line-ups will surely have an impact.
Your company is listed in the top 10 companies on our website for 2021 in WordPress hosting. Can you tell us more about your services and do your products and services are focused on WordPress hosting?
Chirag: We love WordPress. A majority of our customer base uses it for their website and as their hosting provider, it’s our responsibility to provide the best experience to them. We have in-depth knowledge and experience with it so we are able to cater our services towards this market.
In fact, as mentioned previously, we are soon going to launch our Managed WordPress Hosting (Ultra Plans) for high performance and maintenance needs. Over the past year, we have gathered feedback from our customers, ran multiple trials and beta programs, and have designed our product roadmap for this product. We are excited about the launch and upcoming developments!
VapourHost Ultra is primarily focused on the emerging market where the quality of service is of high importance and we can’t wait to offer this experience to our customers.
There are many hosting companies on the market. What are the top 5 things that Vapour is different from the competition?
Chirag: With so many companies in the market, it is difficult to stand out so we do our best to create a unique identity in our market and improve where we can. There are a lot of small areas we take pride in but to talk specifically about top things, they would be
- Flat Prices - Prior to starting VapourHost, we were bloggers and hence required hosting. We were both in high school and managing funds to pay upfront for 3 or 5 years was a difficult task and this led us to go with flat pricing. All our shared hosting plans are available at a monthly cycle with the same base price as that of our trineal cycle.
- Our care about your data - We backup everything and believe that backups are an essential part of the hosting infrastructure and want to be ready for any disaster.
- Support - Just being fast in customer support is not good enough. Meaningful replies and being flexible go a long way. We don’t charge extra to take customer’s issues on priority and regularly solve issues related to plugin and theme configuration, initial setup, etc which other hosts would straight away refuse.
- Approachability - We are highly approachable and treat our customers just like our family members. We understand their pain and lack of technical know-how and try our best to go as far as possible. We are even connected with a huge percentage of our customers through our personal social handles.
- Been there, done that - I personally know how frustrating hosting problems are. Failing to fix that WordPress critical error, getting a C on website speed test, and receiving downtime alerts. We have gone through it but they don’t have to!
Covid-19 is still with us and it’s an ongoing problem for a lot of industries. How this pandemic has affected your business?
Chirag: The pandemic has been a big challenge for us as India was under a complete lockdown for months. We are still a small team and one of our core support staff was expecting a new family member so there was an increased workload but we have to ensure the quality of our service is not compromised.
In addition, many of our customers lost their day jobs and hence had to go through a financial crisis. We wanted to be as helpful as we could and offered a lot of free hosting extensions, discounts, late fee removal, etc. In addition to the initial hit, this also put a financial strain on the business.
The situation has improved a lot since the initial wave but India is heading towards another lockdown.
However, at the same time, the hosting market has seen exponential growth. Companies are realizing the importance of remote working and highly available infrastructure. People are ready more than ever to have a highly available network and service.
As the situation started to improve and lockdown rules were relaxed, we started noticing a more than average increase in the number of new clients. The future of hosting is quite exciting :)
What are the new trends and technologies that are going to be on the market in the following period?
Chirag: Hosting industry will keep getting more competitive and I believe more niche-focused providers will emerge. This is certainly going to be beneficial for the end customer as there will be pressure not just to provide good service but also to innovate. More customers will start to move to scalable cloud infrastructure. Likewise, we have also been working to introduce more features to scale with the industry and keep the edge over our current competitors.
Where do you see your company in the next 10 years?
Chirag: We have the vision to lead the managed hosting segment for SME. Be it in terms of innovation or ethical values. I do realize we are still far behind in achieving this dream but with constant progress, even if slow, we can make it!
Finally, is there any advice you would like to share with the hosting community?
Chirag: I think that the hosting industry follows a herd-like behavior where everything is automated. Companies often take an ignorant way of dealing with problems in order to cut their costs where customers are just a number on the sheet. Having a solid product is important but there will always be customers who need personalized support where canned replies are not enough.
One piece of advice I can share is to make your customers feel like they can rely on you and don’t be afraid of suggestions!