TL; DR: Swiss-based AlpHosting takes a comprehensive approach to hosting that has helped its modern service grow. The company delivers Platform-as-a-Service functionality to its customers through its commitment to hands-on technical implementation. AlpHosting’s lean business model also lends a personal touch to customer interactions, and its proximity to clients is a significant selling point. Now, AlpHosting is developing a site builder tool for novice clients and rack hosting options for SMBs.
The hosting market doesn’t stand still, and companies that typically partner with small- and medium-sized businesses enter, exit, and merge fairly consistently. That trend makes AlpHosting, which was founded in 2002, an uncommonly long-term and stable member of the ecosystem.
“We started quite slow and small,” said Florian Baser, CEO and Co-Founder of AlpHosting. “And until 2015, hosting was on our back burner.”
The Swiss-based company has been so successful because it emphasizes high-quality customer support over massive growth. In addition, Switzerland’s privacy laws govern AlpHosting, providing strict data protection through stronger consumer privacy regulations.
Over the last few years, the company has retooled its service portfolio to deliver best-in-class experiences for standard hosting products. It also offers some niche options, including Java servers and personalized tech support for complex customer builds.
“We decided last year to invest in more infrastructure,” Florian said. “We’re hosting in a Tier 4 datacenter now, which allows us to provide additional service options to larger customers.”
A Tier 4 datacenter guarantees uptime and redundancy, and it’s the highest level of sophistication and resilience that a datacenter typically obtains.
The company now serves clients in 50 countries, offering virtual private servers, PHP, and MySQL hosting, among the many other services SMBs and resellers need to grow.
Offering PaaS at the Right Level for SMBs
AlpHosting brings a platform-as-a-service approach to its customers. In the PaaS model, a vendor delivers cloud-based access to hardware, software, and infrastructure to speed up applications and server deployments. PaaS typically reduces customer complexity and lowers total cost because the vendor manages the technical end at scale.
“We have reseller and shared hosting, which is a big part of our company and why we are known in the market,” Florian said. “We also enjoy a lot more technical projects, where we help customers with infrastructure and set up automation for them — basically, platform as a service.”
Most general-purpose hosting providers don’t deliver true PaaS because customers either use shared services or manage a stock VPS. AlpHosting’s commitment to fine-tuning the infrastructure and automation on client projects crosses that threshold. Instead of being a commodity provider of cloud services, it delivers PaaS-style solutions for customers that require them.
AlpHosting’s platform is based on a familiar mix of tools, including WHM and cPanel. For small businesses that need a website and have used other vendors, AlpHosting’s toolkit feels familiar and scales well. SMBs that need extra reliability can opt for a dedicated server instead of a VPS or a slice of a shared server. Account tiers provide resources at various price points. At the high end, clients obtain SSH access, an SSL certificate, one free domain, and 200GB of disk space, among other tools.
For resellers, AlpHosting provides an administrative version of WHM and cPanel. The host also allows overselling of resources. For example, a reseller provisioned with 50GB of disk space could sell more than 50GB to its clients because most don’t use all of their allotted space. AlpHosting only enforces the limit when the reseller’s actual utilization crosses the threshold. Even then, the company supports dynamic upgrades to plans to ensure continuity of operations for resellers and their clients.
Companies of all sizes can find something useful in the AlpHosting portfolio, including shared hosting, VPS management, and PaaS support.
“In the beginning, everything was a shared server,” Florian said. “Now, we compete with site builders and specialized hosting services like cloud offerings from Google.”
Generalized Service Platforms Serve a Broad Range of Customers
The modern hosting ecosystem has mostly settled on commodity pricing, driven partially by the pricing models of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. That means relatively few providers actively compete on costs. Instead, they differentiate on a mix of product features, customer support, and specialization.
“We don’t specialize in just one aspect,” Florian said. “So I’d say our biggest asset is our overall proximity to our clients.”
Accessible support helps customers new to cloud-based computing migrate effectively and optimize their services in a virtual environment.
AlpHosting optimizes its services for a diverse range of business use cases. The company’s technical team can deliver just about any solution on a case-by-case basis with its custom PaaS-level support. That fine-tuning often outperforms similar products or services offered by vendors that specialize in niche hosting.
“We’re still quite small compared to other players in the industry,” he said. “We host around 5,000 domains. In terms of differentiation, we play mainly to our small size and the same faces because when our customers have questions, they almost always have the same people talking to them.”
For SMBs new to cloud-based computing, particularly those without an in-house technical team, developing a relationship with the same people streamlines communication and builds trust. That trust is often critical to making the first foray into the cloud successful.
AlpHosting: Solid Service and Superior Tech Support for Niche Solutions
Vendors compete on service or specialization in a crowded hosting market where price isn’t the main industry driver. AlpHosting is one of the few that doubles down on service and specialization while offering a broad-based product portfolio that fits most SMBs. AlpHosting delivers the basics with a mix of shared hosting, VPS solutions, reseller and domain tools, and standard control panels. The company’s specialized implementation service also offers PaaS-level support at no extra charge.
AlpHosting serves a dual role as a generalist and a specialist by delivering PaaS while promoting proximity to clients as its core value driver. Its custom implementation tools can provide better results than a server template because the solution is more customized.
Florian said the company’s push to optimize its infrastructure continues.
“We want to start with a site builder,” he said. “This year, we will launch that, and we’re also going to focus more on server housing and rack hosting.”
Server housing and rack hosting work well for medium-sized businesses that want to own their own hardware but prefer to let vendors manage it. Housing is ideal for SMBs in regulated industries that must own their hardware and secure it with proprietary tools but don’t want the burden of operating a datacenter.
A hosting provider that values proximity to clients, delivers exceptional base capability, and extends the value proposition with PaaS-level implementation support is rare enough. Combine that with a lean operation and Switzerland’s data protection laws, and AlpHosting becomes a serious contender for any SMB looking to move to the cloud.