HostAdvice had the opportunity to speak with Chris Rusev, the CEO of ScalaHosting, a Dallas-based company that specializes in managed VPS solutions. In the interview, Chris discusses how fully managed VPS hosting benefits businesses worldwide and comments on the frustrations of the cPanel price hike set to take place in January 2021.
HostAdvice: Hi Chris. Tell us a bit about ScalaHosting. How did you get started?
Chris: ScalaHosting is a US-based provider offering high performance and ultra-secure web hosting solutions. The company was founded in 2008. Our mission is to transform VPS hosting into a great solution for building amazing things on the web.
We started with only 2 leased servers. Eventually, we grew up and migrated to our own servers and network equipment. It enabled us to create a great environment for delivering quality web hosting services. Right now, we have more than 50,000 customers and 700,000 hosted domains.
ScalaHosting offers different types of hosting solutions, including classic shared hosting and self-managed VPS. However, right now, our primary focus is on the fully managed cloud VPS solution.
HostAdvice: Can you share your reasons for focusing on the fully managed hosting service? What’s your thought about the classic shared hosting solution?
Chris: We know that the shared hosting model is highly popular. Most people start with it because it's the cheapest solution. That’s why the shared hosting model holds the biggest share in the market. However, there are several downsides. It's the most vulnerable, insecure, and unreliable hosting solution.
When the physical server of your website is shared by another 500-700 unknown users, there’s a significant security risk that you should seriously think about. What will happen if one of them is a hacker or an over-loader? In such cases, you’ll face several big problems. Your website will become very slow or unavailable. The email delivery will stop or go directly into the recipient's spam-box.
However, when you’re on a managed VPS, nothing like that can happen. While all the websites share the same physical space, the IP addresses are unique to each server. It’s like having an isolated container with your own resources independent of anyone else’s. So, unlike shared hosting, you don’t have to share resources on a large server that runs your site. As a result, there is significantly less chance of a security breach. Also, with fully managed VPS, you don’t have to deal with any security configuration. We handle everything. In this way, a fully managed VPS solution can save you time, which you can use on other aspects of your business.
A fully managed VPS solution provides significantly better security, overall performance, and a solid user experience at the same time. It’s the future of web hosting. That’s why we’re focusing on it.
HostAdvice: There are several key benefits to the fully managed VPS solution. However, its cost is significantly higher than shared hosting. It’s not affordable for everyone. Do you have any plans to bring the cost down to everyone’s budget range?
Chris: When you bundle the VPS with all the required webmaster tools and software, the price goes beyond the affordability zone of most of the users. Also, it goes far away from the cost of a shared hosting solution.
That's why we've started to develop cloud software that’s commonly used by our hosting customers in-house. We aim to provide complete independence from the 3rd party license providers. In this way, the overall cost of the fully managed VPS hosting solution can be reduced significantly. By making it super affordable, we can help millions of website owners upgrade from shared to our VPS service. It’ll bring a dramatic change in the industry and make the world of hosting solutions a more secure and lucrative place.
HostAdvice: There are a lot of hosting providers that promise to deliver the best features at a reasonable price. What makes ScalaHosting stand out from the crowd?
Chris: We work not only as a hosting provider but also as a software development company. We’re well aware of the needs of the customers. Our development team is capable of building amazing software that can meet the in-house requirement of clients effectively. Also, based on the client’s needs, we add new features to the cloud control software continuously. That's how we made SPanel, a great alternative to the highly expensive cPanel, perfect for the end-user. The control panel is one of a kind. As a hosting provider, we’ve developed it specifically for meeting the requirements of the hosting clients.
Also, we offer the best value proposition in the managed cloud VPS segment globally. At $9.95/month, we’re offering an all-in-one solution. It features an isolated container, making all the resources, including CPU, RAM, and storage, available only for you. Also, it comes with SPanel, which is offered free with ScalaHosting’s VPS servers. Moreover, you get a dedicated IP, OpenLightSpeed, advanced cybersecurity (SSheild), daily backups, snapshots, and a lot of extra features backed by 24/7 technical support. It’s really difficult to find a hosting provider that offers a better value proposition than ScalaHosting.
HostAdvice: Performance and availability are two important factors when choosing a hosting provider. What should the customers expect from ScalaHosting in terms of uptime and speed?
Chris: Website speed is a huge factor in the success of every online business. To enhance performance, we integrated LiteSpeed Enterprise, OpenLiteSpeed, and Nginx web servers in the SPanel cloud management platform. OpenLiteSpeed is the fastest web server in the world for serving both dynamic and static content. It allows website owners to use the most efficient caching plugins for different platforms, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, for free. It enables your site to load faster. The standard apache setup is well optimized.
Websites hosted on SPanel load faster. It’s custom-tuned for delivering the ultimate performance. Everything is individually configured depending on the specifications of the VPS and the number of visitors it serves. Also, we use enterprise-grade SSD drives and powerful Intel E5 processors to ensure a high level of performance. Our goal is to take the performance of our VPS solution to a whole new level, which can benefit the customers massively.
High availability is another important factor. You don’t want to see your website going down and losing customers. ScalaHosting offers a 99.99% uptime guarantee, which is above the industry average. Usually, our servers don’t go down easily. However, if you experience downtime frequently, there’s a great solution. The 99.99% uptime guarantee is included in our Terms of Service. So, if your website goes down frequently, the downtime will be offset with credit cards in your account. Also, if you suffer downtime of more than 1%, you’ll receive the full refund.
HostAdvice: When it comes to choosing a web hosting provider, one of the most important factors to consider is the quality of the customer support service. All the website owners want to receive a prompt response and get their issues solved quickly. What kind of support should your customers expect?
Chris: Ensuring the best support service to the customers is our top priority. Our support team consists of professionals with years of experience in the hosting industry. They’re capable of solving all the issues efficiently. The support team is available 24/7/365. So, whenever you face any issue, you’ll always find a helping hand. Also, the team is highly responsive. In Live Chat, you’ll get a response within 30 seconds. For tickets, you only need to wait just 15 minutes.
HostAdvice: People are very frustrated with the cPanel price hike, which will go into effect on January 1, 2021. Do you have any plans to help them?
Chris: The new cPanel price increase coming in January 2021 is indeed dramatic. Depending on the number of licenses, it can reach up to 2000%, which is massive. However, we’ve come up with a solution. We’re offering SPanel to our customers of Managed Cloud VPS service for free. Unlike cPanel, it doesn’t force you to pay in terms of account numbers. Instead, it provides you with unlimited accounts without any extra cost. In this way, SPanel can help you to save a lot of money.
SPanel is a great cPanel alternative that includes everything for enabling website owners to grow their businesses in a highly secure environment. It boasts SShield, an advanced security tool capable of blocking suspicious activities at a whopping 99.998% success rate. Also, when hacking occurs, it gathers all sorts of information about the activity and sends it to the website owner. It’s a fully automated system that employs machine learning and artificial intelligence. You won’t find any similar technology with cPanel.
Also, unlike cPanel, SPanel has integrations with Nginx and OpenLiteSpeed, allowing websites to load blazingly fast. Moreover, the custom control panel is very lightweight. You can easily run it even on a VPS solution with less than 1 GB RAM. In this way, you can utilize an intuitive hosting management tool without any extra load on the server.
HostAdvice: Covid-19 has affected the global economy massively. Many businesses are forced to shut down. How’s your business keeping on during the pandemic? Can your web hosting solutions help companies to survive during this difficult time?
Chris: I wouldn't call it a "feast in time of plague." But businesses like ours are on the rise during these difficult times. It's because we help physical businesses transform into digital. With the new social distance mass behavior, we can see a dramatic acceleration in this transformation process. Many businesses around the world have moved online and seen massive growth during this pandemic. However, it can’t be achieved without getting a reliable hosting solution.
Recently, I’ve talked to a new client who’s selling and delivering groceries door-to-door. He migrated his e-commerce store from a shared server with another hosting provider to the managed VPS service of ScalaHosting. He told me a fascinating story about moving to our solution. He was happy with his shared hosting service for years. But in May 2020, he was almost bankrupted during the 1st wave of Covid-19. By that time, people started to avoid going to the local stores in-person. Instead, they began to order groceries online. As a result, within two weeks, the client saw a 600% increase in his online orders, which was great for his businesses. However, he got into trouble.
Despite using the highest shared hosting plan, the website started to slow-down, as it can’t handle the traffic efficiently. Gradually, the situation gets even worse. He had to survive a weekend with his online store completely down. Naturally, a significant portion of his customers started to order from elsewhere. As a result, he lost many regular clients. The reason why this has happened to him and can also happen to anyone on a shared server is simple. It's hard to scale your resources as quickly as you can with the cloud VPS. Also, in his case, there were another two e-commerce websites with spiking loads on the same server. That's how a shared hosting service can kill a booming online business.
Web hosting solutions can help businesses achieve growth even in this difficult time. However, you must choose the right type of hosting. If you have a booming eCommerce website with a lot of traffic, you should never choose shared hosting. Instead, go for VPS, as it can scale resources to handle traffic spikes efficiently.
HostAdvice: What are your plans for ScalaHosting in the future?
Chris: In addition to our data centers in Dallas-US and Bulgaria, we’re currently finalizing the deployment of our 3rd global datacenter in India in partnership with Equinix. Also, we have plans to launch a fully managed VPS service build on DigitalOcean and AWS infrastructure before the end of 2020. This will enable us to open hundreds of new geographic cloud locations. Unlike any other hosting provider, we’ll give clients a choice between our own datacenters and DigitalOcean/AWS. It’ll allow all customers to compare the speed and costs of various solutions effectively.
Also, we have plans to bring several new improvements to SPanel before the end of 2020. We’ll introduce the Softaculous 1-click installer, which will allow users of the control panel to install 400+ applications with one click. The control panel will have the new Connect Devices feature, guiding users to configure SPanel emails in their mail clients. Also, you’ll have more control as a VPS administrator. You can set optional restrictions on max domains, emails, databases for every user. Besides, there will be wizards for the SPanel admin and user interface, helping all users complete specific tasks comfortably.
We have plans to introduce several new security features, including SpamAssassin custom spam score. We’ll also bring blacklist and whitelist management options. Moreover, there will be an enhancement in certificate security. Users will be required to have a generated Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for ordering or configuring a paid certificate.
HostAdvice: Finally, what advice would you give to the people who are looking for VPS hosting services? What are the signs of an outstanding VPS hosting provider?
Chris: When it comes to VPS hosting, there are various factors to evaluate. The most significant ones are server uptime, customer support, and cost. Uptime is the measurement of reliability. The higher the uptime, the more reliable your site will perform. It’s important for both users and search engine rankings. Make sure that the hosting provider is offering at least a 99.95% uptime guarantee. Anything below is unacceptable.
Customer support is another important factor. A great VPS hosting provider boasts a highly experienced support team that will respond to all of your issues promptly. If the provider doesn’t offer 24/7 support service, you should look for alternative solutions.
Perhaps the most important factor is cost. It’s the elephant in the room. Remember the cliche, “You get what you pay for.” You can get a hosting solution at a cheap price. However, you’ll face more downtime and traffic glitches. So, you should perform a cost-benefit analysis of different hosting solutions and choose the best one.
Another point to look at is whether the VPS is managed or unmanaged. A managed VPS gives you less control. However, the hosting provider takes care of all the server responsibilities, including core updates, maintenance, and software installation. On the other hand, unmanaged VPS gives you more control. However, you have to deal with all the responsibilities and maintenance tasks. So, to use it, you need to have the technical expertise or dedicated in-house resources for managing the server.
If you’re a new business owner with little or no technical experience, managed VPS is the right choice for you. You won’t have to worry about anything related to the server. If you have an established business with dedicated in-house resources offering 24/7 IT support, unmanaged VPS will be a better option.
ScalaHosting is a Dallas-based company offering scalable hosting plans, ranging from simple shared hosting to advanced managed VPS solutions. It has two data centers, which are located in Dallas, US, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Since 2007, ScalaHosting has been working tirelessly to make VPS hosting a resource for everyone, including students, developers, and businesses. The company vows to deliver high-performance, ultra-secure, and cost-effective VPS solutions for all of the users around the world. It offers a variety of plans, including shared hosting and Managed Cloud VPS, which start at monthly charges of $3.95 and $9.95 respectively.