Web Hosting Interview - Server4you.com August 2003

August 2003
Web Hosting Interview - Server4you.com August 2003

Thomas Strohe - Co-Founder and Director of US Operations - Server4you.com

In an exclusive one-on-one with HostSearch's Jason Butler, Server4you founder Thomas Strohe offers a revealing insight into life inside one of the newest entrants in the US hosting market, and explains just how his company's dedicated hosting prices can be kept so low...

  • JASON: Hi Tom, I wonder if you can you reveal a little about yourself and your day-to-day role with Server4you.com
    TOM: Hi Jason. Well I am one of the founders of the company and have been with SERVER4YOU since its establishment in 1995. My responsibilities include all marketing and product development for our worldwide brands. In 2002 I took charge of the US operations and have sought to implement the same strategy that has proved so successful in Europe, the sale of fully featured dedicated servers and Virtual Private Servers (VPS) at ground-breaking prices.
  • JASON: Can you give us a brief historical run through of Server4you.com's development since establishment, and explain the role the company plays in the industry.
    TOM: SERVER4YOU was first established in Germany in 1995 and has been a dominant force in the local web hosting industry ever since. It's a little known fact that Germany is one of the most competitive web hosting markets in the world. Germans expect superior quality, but are not prepared to pay the earth for it. Competition among web hosting providers is arguably the fiercest in the world, with standard shared hosting accounts selling for as little as $0.20 a month. So, to compete in Germany and the rest of Europe you need to have a very well optimized infrastructure, and need to know how to keep costs down.
  • JASON: So where does Server4you stand in the world market?
    TOM: Well we currently rank as the second largest dedicated hosting company in Europe and among the Top5 worldwide. We host more than 6,500 servers and 380,000 domains in our data centers in St. Louis, MO, and Europe. Our operations are run out of the US, Germany, UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland and we have customers from all four corners of the world.
  • JASON: Can you explain the link between Intergenia.de and Server4you.com
    TOM: Sure, Intergenia AG is the holding company of our worldwide operations. Intergenia AG owns all parts of SERVER4YOU and our European brands SERVER4FREE and PlusServer.
  • JASON: So you have a strong footing, but what makes your hosting plans unique to the industry?
    TOM: We have the most complete, best value for money dedicated and VPS hosting plans in the industry. We have set out to develop the richest, most complete feature set and optimized our internal processes so that we can sell for lowest possible price. We are totally dedicated to superior customer service, that's the main reason why less than 0.5% of all new customers decide to leave us within the first two years. One of the best loyalty ratios in the industry.
  • JASON: Can you give us an insight into your new low price dedicated hosting offer? How do you manage to keep the price so low without impinging on quality?
    TOM: As you can imagine, I get asked this question a lot. SERVER4YOU offers superior service at very low prices, prices so low that some think they are too low to be true - and that there must be a catch. Trust me, there is no "catch." There are a number of very good reasons why we can sell our dedicated servers for such unbelievably low prices:

    -Experience: We have been in the dedicated hosting business since 1997 and have been fine-tuning our software and processes ever since. We now host over 6,500 dedicated servers and more than 380,000 domains in three data centers in the US and Europe. This experience helps us to work very efficiently and keep costs down.

    -Global Leader: SERVER4YOU is one of the world's largest dedicated hosting providers. We grow by a rate of more than 500 servers a month. All this enables us to buy in high volume. In addition, our reach allows us to source globally and buy components and software wherever it is least expensive.

    -High Level of Automation: We have developed one of the most highly sophisticated, automated provisioning systems in the industry to handle more than 95% of all work in our data center: All server installs, restores and reboots are fully automated. However we don't skimp on live, human support where it is needed. Every server includes superior 24/7 live support with a guaranteed first-response within 30 minutes.

    -Standardization: SERVER4YOU concentrates on selling the minimum of products with very few options. We don't offer hardware upgrades or other fancy stuff. Because of this, we can keep our server purchases down to the bare minimum, along with storage and spare parts costs, while at the same time ensuring that processes are clear-cut and efficient.

    -Small Overhead: SERVER4YOU operates with minimal management overhead. In many companies, the cost of management is often the largest expense on the ledger. At SERVER4YOU there is only one management team which oversees all worldwide operations. We are able to transfer these savings onto the public in the form of low prices, while still investing in products and support.

    -Strong Finances: SERVER4YOU is one of the few profitable Web hosting providers worldwide. We are strong, stable and wholly owned by the management team.
  • JASON: In your view, which five characteristics turn a good hosting site into a great one?
    TOM: Superior, reliable service with advanced product features, low pricing, total dedication to customer support, high levels of flexibility and global orientation.
  • JASON: Which of these characteristics do you see as Server4you.com's main strength?
    TOM: I truly believe that SERVER4YOU is offering the best deal for dedicated hosting in the industry. We sell the most advanced hardware, include only full versions of the latest web hosting software and offer unequaled 24/7 live customer support. And all for a price point 50% lower than the competition.
  • JASON: Where do you see yourself, Server4you.com and the industry as a whole in five years time?
    TOM: SERVER4YOU is one of the few profitable web hosting companies in the world and also one of the first with a true global orientation. We will continue our growth into different markets and seek to maintain our current position within the global market. I foresee major changes for the industry over the next few years. A small number of large global hosting companies will emerge from the pack to capture the dominant market share. Competition in the US will increase as more European hosting companies enter the market, as a result I think you will see a dramatic fall in prices.
  • JASON: What is the first website you visit when you turn on your computer?
    TOM: I like to visit discussion boards and our internal ticketing system to get customer feedback and to see how well our customer service is performing. I then head off to CNN.com and some other news sites.
  • JASON: Great to speak with you Tom, thanks.