HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris Rusev

HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris Rusev

HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris RusevHostAdvice had the opportunity to speak with Chris Rusev, the CEO and co-founder of ScalaHosting, a web hosting company that offers shared, cloud VPS, and reseller hosting services.

In the interview, Chris discusses the company’s journey from overcoming challenges in a competitive industry to focusing on Managed VPS hosting. He highlights ScalaHosting’s commitment to customer support, server reliability, and the flexibility of their services.

He also envisions the future of hosting moving towards cloud VPS and shares excitement for upcoming features like the Spectra Website Builder integration in SPanel.

Hi Chris, please tell us about yourself, your role, and what you do for ScalaHosting


My name is Hristo Rusev, a.k.a. Chris, I’m the CEO and co-founder of ScalaHosting, and I supervise the affiliate department.

How did you get into the web hosting industry?  


Back in 2002, we had an online store hosted by a hosting company that does not exist anymore, and we had never-ending problems with this provider.

This, combined with the assumption that the internet will be growing rapidly over the next few years, gave me and the other co-founders, Vlad and Lyubomir, enough confidence to establish the first Bulgarian hosting provider.

Then, in 2006, we expanded the business in the US under the ScalaHosting brand.

ScalaHosting
ScalaHosting provides tailored hosting solutions, including standout Cloud VPS and WordPress options. Suitable for beginners to enterprises, its services enable easy website management for a wide range of users.
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Can you provide an overview of the initial growth phase of ScalaHosting?


Until 2019, ScalaHosting was growing relatively slow as the other two co-founders and I were engaged in other businesses with little focus on hosting.

Around that time, we noticed the huge potential in the hosting industry. For a long time, hosting remained stagnant, but the rise of cloud technology indicated that significant market changes were on the horizon.

On top of that, our client’s satisfaction was high, the churn was very low, and all we had to do was scale things up.

That’s when all three of us decided to leave behind everything else and focus 100% on ScalaHosting.

Since the traditional shared hosting is outdated, our main goal was to make Managed Cloud VPS accessible to everyone. The main barriers preventing the widespread adoption of Managed Cloud VPS were the high costs and complexity associated with.

All we had to do was to make this technology cheaper and easier to manage. That’s how we started to develop our own all-in-one cloud platform called SPanel.

These days, this is the main reason why our Managed VPS services are so affordable and easy to manage.

What were your most difficult challenges, and how did you overcome them?

The hosting space was and still is super competitive, oversaturated, and twisted by the big names in the industry. Their strategies have shaped the market in ways that can be challenging for smaller entities to navigate.

This competitive market has significantly complicated our efforts to promote our Cloud VPS and SPanel.

Luckily, we got a helping hand from an unexpected source – our own customers.

We were getting tons of positive reviews across all major review platforms. The big breakthrough came when we became the #1 hosting provider in the most competitive Trustpilot’ category – Web Hosting.

That’s when technology media giants like Techradar, ZDNet, PCMag, and many others started to notice ScalaHosting, which was followed by editorial listings and endorsements.

What makes ScalaHosting’s Managed Cloud VPS stand out?

ScalaHosting has a large in-house software development team that designs and builds our proprietary management system – SPanel.

SPanel allows our customer to control and manage all aspects of their websites.  

Interview questions for ScalaHosting\'s CEO Hristo Rusev

At the same time, we use our own equipment and data center cloud clusters across the US and Europe.

Having complete control over the hardware and software aspects of Managed VPS allows us to maintain a unique bundle that provides ultimate website loading speeds.

Another important differentiator is how the software is being developed. It’s 100% based on user feedback, and we call it our Cloud Democracy Project.

SPanel is designed by the user for the user backed up by two decades of practical experience we got working with hosting customers and facing their problems every day.

Instead of developing the functionalities we wanted and monetizing, we took a different approach by allowing web developers and hosting users to design it according to their real needs.

At features.spanel.io, everyone can suggest new features and vote for existing ones, and we always develop user requests that have the majority of votes.

What can customers expect from your company in terms of server reliability?

To my knowledge, we are the only global hosting provider with Anytime Unconditional Money Back Guarantee. Our clients can get a refund at any time if they are not happy with the service. We wouldn’t be so brave if we weren’t 100% confident about our server reliability.

How do you manage customer expectations, especially in terms of customer support?

Customer support is the nuts and bolts of every hosting business. No matter how good your technology is or how fast the servers are, if you fail in customer support, you fail everywhere.

That’s why client satisfaction is the number one priority here at ScalaHosting.

Based on our 20+ years of practical experience, we developed and implemented various internal quality control systems to make sure that even the smallest problem will be noticed and addressed properly.

We are proud of our flawless 5-star rating across all major review platforms. We rarely receive bad reviews. Even 4-star feedback triggers in-depth internal checks to make sure that the quality of our support is top-notch.

Can you describe the benefits and challenges of maintaining your own servers while also offering AWS hosting?

We want our clients to have the full liberty to manage their online presence as they wish. That’s why SPanel can be installed on a virtual machine (VM) with any other hosting provider and not only on ScalaHosting VPS.

It’s the same reason why we offer our customers the choice between our native data center clusters and AWS.

Medium and larger companies are sometimes very fond of Amazon AWS. Nobody ever got fired for choosing AWS (it is a popular corporate joke).

The only challenge for us working with AWS is the slightly extended time needed to solve a server-related issue for our customers. In some cases, our support should communicate with AWS, which naturally takes more time to sort things out. 

Do you offer any options for scalable hosting, such as the ability to easily upgrade to a higher service tier or add more resources?

ScalaHosting brand name is derived from scalability, which is why our technology focus is on the cloud. Every Cloud VPS plan, even the cheapest Entry Cloud, comes with 1-click upgrade functionality. It allows our customers to add resources like CPU, RAM, and storage in seconds via SPanel or their client’s dashboard. 

Moving from one web host to another can be painful. How does ScalaHosting help customers migrate from another provider?

We offer a completely free, unlimited, and effortless website and email account migrations.

To start the migration, you only need to provide the login details to your old hosting service.

We will find all your files, databases and emails and transfer them to your new ScalaHosting account.

We do not change anything on your old physical server, we just copy the data to the new one. If a customer suddenly decides to revert to the old hosting for whatever reason, we’ll refund any paid subscriptions and help them switch back.

At the end of the migration process, the person handling your website transfer will manually verify the success of the migration by ensuring each transferred site loads correctly on the new server.

That manual verification process includes accessing the website, browsing through it, and making sure no errors are reported and that everything loads normally.

During the migration process, your website remains accessible to visitors with no downtime.

What kind of pricing strategy or model do you guys use?

All ScalaHosting plans come as a complete bundle of everything the client needs to manage their websites and emails.

There are no hidden costs and fees, clients don’t pay any additional fees after completing their order. The idea is to make our pricing simple and straightforward.

At the same time, our introductory prices are lower than the renewals in order to encourage new clients to experience our high-quality service. We aim for this initial pricing to foster a long-term relationship, supporting our ability to continuously enhance our service.

This approach is rooted in our belief that a financially stable company is better equipped to serve its customers.

What tools or resources do you offer to help customers manage and optimize their hosting environments?

The main source of such resources is SPanel. Although it’s wildly perceived as a cPanel/WHM alternative, SPanel is, in fact, an all-in-one cloud platform that helps our customers manage and optimize their hosting environment.

Interview questions for ScalaHosting\'s CEO Hristo Rusev

 

It has hundreds of functionalities and integrations, including various monitoring and performance optimization tools like the “Resource usage info in the admin interface”.

The user can see the average CPU/RAM usage of all accounts on their VM and also see the currently running users’ processes with an option to kill individual ones or all the processes started by a particular sub-user, improving the overall performance of the VM.

SPanel has “Features per package” functionality, which allows setting resource usage limits such as disk space, inodes, number of domains, databases, and email packages, which also helps manage and optimize the overall performance.

What challenges do you see ahead for ScalaHosting, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Most websites today still use traditional shared hosting. This technology was great 20 years ago, but today it’s totally outdated. Shared hosting has only two advantages compared to the cloud – the low price and the easy management.

Other than that, shared hosting is slow, vulnerable, unsecured, and bears all the disadvantages of sharing one server with hundreds or thousands of strangers.

Cloud hosting, on the other hand, is fast, secure, redundant, highly-available, and scalable – technology.

However, cloud technology involves sophisticated infrastructure and maintenance, which can drive up prices and complicate user interfaces, especially for those without technical expertise.

Our challenge is to make cloud services both affordable and user-friendly for everyone, regardless of their experience.

Our “Entry Cloud,” soulution, for example, offers shared hosting features like low price, easy management with SPanel, and free domain/SSL, together with VPS benefits like guaranteed resources, unique IP, super-fast loading speeds and more.

This solution is a great start for people who are still fond of the cPanel shared hosting but want to try something new and way more advanced and potent.

What recent developments or upcoming features can customers expect? Are there any features you’re personally excited about?

In December 2023, we rolled out a major SPanel update, adding some exciting new functionalities like:

  • Joomla 5 & CLI Installer—makes new deployments much easier and prone to errors.
  • Install free SSL—allows you to switch to a free SSL certificate with 1 click via the SPanel User Interface.
  • PostgreSQL Remote access—enable remote server access to your PostgreSQL database.
  • Improved WordPress Manager—new features like staging environment for developers, passwordless login to the WP Admin, run a performance report (The Lighthouse Speed Report), and many more.
  • Improved Manual Backups—You can now browse the backup you created and restore any file, email message, or database with one click from the SPanel Backups interface.
  • Firewall Manager—allows to whitelist or block IP addresses from accessing your server.
  • Improved DNS Editor & Cloudflare Integration—You can manage 100% of the most frequently used features in Cloudflare right from SPanel.
  • Rocky Linux 9 Support—Support for the Rocky Linux 9 operating system.
  • File Manager Improvements—You can increase or decrease the text size, go to a specific line in the file, find & replace content, wrap/unwrap lines, select your favorite layout/style of the editor, and many other great features.

There are many other new features, but I’m personally most excited about the forthcoming integration of Spectra Website Builder in SPanel, which is expected in April – May.

It will change and ease the entire onboarding flow for new customers, allowing them to deploy a WordPress website right from the start. And, of course, as with everything else in SPanel, this new functionality will be at no extra cost for our clients.

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