HOSTSEARCH: John, thank you so much for an opportunity to talk with you like this. Can you please tell us how did you start the eUKhost company?
JOHN STRONG: I should say that I'm the Managing Director of the company and not the owner. The owner of the company is Robert King and he currently works in Sales & SEO. In 2001 eUKhost existed purely as a hobby for Robert, who always had an interest in computers and hosting from a young age. Robert started eUKhost after outgrowing hosting packages from other providers. He quickly gained the custom of many local companies in his area and it then took several years for it to become a viable business. From the outset everyone involved in eUKhost was determined to provide excellent support to customers. We didn't want to be a provider who refused support requests and pointed to an obscure part of their terms & conditions to justify said refusal. With that in mind, we have invested heavily in our support department.
HOSTSEARCH: That's interesting. What have been changing since 2001 until now?
JOHN STRONG: Everything. In 2001 eUKhost was a hobby and it wasn't until 2005/2006 that it started to take off. At the start eUKhost was purely a shared hosting provider but soon delved into VPS and Dedicated Server hosting. In 2007/2008 we experimented with load balancing and mirrored hosting, which quickly became an important product range for us. In the past 18 months we have also launched a cloud hosting product, which has proven to be hugely popular. More recently, we have been setting up private cloud clusters for a number of high profile companies. 2010 is proving to be an incredible year for eUKhost and we are on target to post record growth in December.
HOSTSEARCH: How many employees does the company have?
JOHN STRONG: There are currently 12 full time employees in our Leeds office and a number of others in Durham, but we have close to 220 worldwide for our various projects. We also have a number of contracted individuals in the UK to deal with certain parts of our network operations. We are currently actively recruiting sales, customer service and support technicians in our Leeds office. If anyone has an interest working in the hosting industry, feel free to drop me your CV!
HOSTSEARCH: Are you target mainly for users in the UK?
JOHN STRONG: The UK makes up approximately 60% of our customer base. We are quite popular in Europe and Asia and we are actively working on targeting customers from both North America and South America.
HOSTSEARCH: What does your customer portfolio look like?
JOHN STRONG: Our customer base ranges from individual people running hobby websites all the way up to local/national Government contracts throughout the World. At eUKhost we have a very diverse product range, which I feel is shown in our customer base.
HOSTSEARCH: What is the most popular web hosting plan at eUKhost and why?
JOHN STRONG: Our most popular plan is definitely Linux Shared Hosting. Over the years we have provided an excellent level of uptime on our shared hosting environments and many of our sales actively come from word of mouth recommendations. Many people don't actually need a VPS or Dedicated Server and our Sales Team are there to give an honest assessment of their needs. The lowest cost package is inevitably the best selling for us and Shared Hosting is an extremely important product range for us.
HOSTSEARCH: How do you market your web hosting services? Did you spend a lot of money in advertising?
JOHN STRONG: The majority of our marketing is done through natural search engine rankings. This involves investing in carefully selected advertising campaigns and being patient enough to wait months, sometimes close to a year, for a decision to pay off. We also invest in magazine advertisements in order to build brand awareness. However, our existing customer base tend to be our biggest advertising asset, as they do actively refer us both offline and online. Like many other hosting companies, we supplement this with an attractive affiliate program.
HOSTSEARCH: What's the most difficult part in running this business?
JOHN STRONG: Innovating and constantly being aware of new technologies and just how the market is developing is definitely the most difficult part. Hosting companies who started a decade ago have failed to come close to even our last years growth because they didn't evolve with the market. It is still quite possible for an even well established company to get left behind if they lapse on their development and research.
HOSTSEARCH: What can eUKhost customers expect in 2011?
JOHN STRONG: I'm personally committed to providing an even higher level of uptime on our Shared Hosting platforms and this is something we are all actively working on. Customers should also expect to see changes in our VPS Hosting platform early in 2011. We are also looking to offer a new entry level Dedicated Server. Overall, we are trying to offer high availability hosting to all our clients without compromising our product range. We like to think we have a product for every potential client and to suit any budget.
HOSTSEARCH: Thank you for a wonderful talk. We hope to see your success in the coming years.