HostAdvice Speaks to Mr. Daniel of Astral Internet

Astral Internet is a web hosting provider based in Montreal, Quebec.

They have been on the market since 2001, and they offer web hosting services, virtual servers (VPS), and domain names.

Today, we are speaking with Mr. Daniel from Astral Internet. Let’s tune in and learn some new things today.

Astral internet interview cover image

 

First of all, can you tell us something more about Astral Internet?

We are all about offering what our clients needs. Most of the products we offer start with a client asking for something specific that they couldn’t find elsewhere. We thrive in helping business owners get the service that perfectly fits their needs, and if it doesn’t exist, we create it.

 

What were the main challenges you faced when you started the business?

I’d say the hardest part is getting people to notice you. The competition is so fierce in our field of work. Even if you offer new technology or faster servers, you must still compete with some giants that have a near-unlimited budget for publicity. Thus, making paid campaigns unaffordable.

 

We noticed that your site is in French. What are the markets that you are currently covering?

Our site is both in English and French. But currently, I’d have to say that about 75% of our clients are from the province of Quebec in Canada, which is French-speaking.

But we do have clients in many countries like Argentina, Belgium, the United States of America, Tunisia, etc.

 

What are your main products and services?

Like most hosting companies, our main product would be web hosting, virtual servers, and domain names.

We are also offering some more specific products like

  • Live virtual server replication to an offsite data center.
  • Licensing of WSA, a website accelerator we’ve developed that speeds up each site of a cPanel server. It’s based on Nginx caching that can be customized per hosting account within a user-friendly GUI.
  • Load balancing or resources burst to handle for VPS.
  • And more.

 

Can you tell us more bout your Virtual Server Options?

We have three “global” types of virtual servers that can be applied to either a Windows or a Linux server.

You have the unmanaged server; this is the bare minimum operating system on your preferred flavor of Linux or Windows Server version. The client can then install any service he wants.

Then we have the managed server; they have everything you need to start hosting websites or online applications. On this package, monitor and help on every service needed to run a website.

Finally, there is the fully managed server; we add many extra security features to the server. With those servers, we often help web agencies to deploy, protect and debug their sites. It’s almost like having your own DevOps on your team.

 

What about the Business Hosting Package?

We created this package specifically for clients that have a website that requires a lot of resources but doesn’t have the “know-how” to be on their own server.

We also call this package semi-private hosting since there are less than 10 sites per “Business” server, but each server has as many resources as regularly shared hosting servers (that can hold a few hundred sites).

Like most of our products, this package was created out of a client’s needs and is now used by many others.

 

What are the most common questions that you receive from customers daily?

Every hoster must hear this question on a regular basis, how to configure my email on my phone, mac, or pc!!!

No matter how many tutorials we’ve done in the past, our clients still prefer talking to a real human on the phone someone. We are quite happy to take this chance as an opportunity to learn more about our client and try to create a connection.

We take pride in answering our phones quickly and take all the time necessary to solve our clients’ problems.

 

Can you tell us more about your backup options?

Before talking about our backups, I’d like to say to anyone reading this article, no matter what backup service you have, always make your own backup and keep them in a safe place.

On our side, we do take regular backups of our client site and save them in servers that are outside our main hosting cluster. Also, as part of our own contingency plan, we keep regular “snapshots” of every server we have allowed us to go back in time if needed.

 

When it comes to web hosting, many customers are interested in the speed, security, and backup of data. How are you handling that part?

We are speed freaks! We know that your ranking can be influenced by the time your page takes to load. With the growth of WordPress sites, this has started to be a big problem since many sites started to use many nice plugins that would slow down their site.

This was when we started to create WSA, our website accelerator. We wanted a solution that could be installed on a server with many sites without having any of them crashing, and that could make a big difference in the page loading time. This solution manages to lower some sites from a 3-second load time to 500 ms.

But software apart, we are always improving our servers that are used to create our cloud solutions. We regularly invest in better CPU and lately, in NVME storage units.

 

What do you think is the most important thing that one hosting provider needs to have?

Security, speed, and good service. If any one of these qualities is missing, you will most likely regret using their services sooner or later.

 

Where do you see Astral Internet in the next ten years?

We are looking into the possibility of offering hybrid hosting. There is an increasing popularity of services from AWS and GCP that are being offered today. Some of our clients are already using hybrid solution. For example, using some of GCP power to easily introduce machine learning algorithms into your shopping cart. This combination can help clients less time to find what they are looking for and offer more relevant items to their search, thus increasing the overall sales.

 

Any advice to our readers on what to look for when picking their hosting provider?

You are allowed to try more than one hosting provider, so don’t be afraid to move your site to another provider to compare their offering.

A lot of people think it’s too complicated to move a website, but most hosting providers will offer you assistance to move your site without having any downtime.

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