TL; DR: Built and run by geeks for geeks, Beyond Hosting gives customers the ability to create and scale high-traffic websites and applications on fully managed cloud infrastructure. The Cincinnati-based company has evolved rapidly to find its niche among enterprise organizations looking for support for their Software-as-a-Service products. Instead of simply providing hardware to customers, Co-Founder Tyler Bishop hopes customers view Beyond Hosting’s managed services and technical support teams as extensions of their IT and engineering departments.
Tyler Bishop and Justin Oeder discovered their paths early. In high school, the pals teamed up on a project to host a small application — and wound up owning their own business.
“It went from, ‘This is kind of fun,’ to, ‘Oh, we can make money doing this,’” Tyler said. “We expanded to serve all our friends, all our friends turned into actual businesses, and then those actual businesses turned into long-term customers. We went from one server to what we have now, which is almost an entire datacenter.”
The two friends, who completed the Cisco Networking Academy and graduated with honors in Information Technology and Tech Prep, started Beyond Hosting in 2008 as a standard shared hosting provider. The company quickly pivoted to virtual servers before a stint with dedicated hardware.
Now, Beyond Hosting is almost entirely focused on cloud services for multi-datacenter, scalable applications built to be fault-tolerant of hardware or network failure. According to Tyler, that means appealing to enterprise-grade companies, Software-as-a-Service applications, and high-traffic eCommerce websites. The team ensures companies scale with high-availability services and proactive support.
“The big thing for us is the focus on the consulting and support aspect of what customers need,” he said. “Look at us as employees covering your technical roles. We’re not supporting you; we’re supporting your applications. We’re more like a team of engineers that work for you.”
Shifting to Support Scalable Software-as-a-Service Systems
During the last handful of years, Beyond Hosting has noticed a major decrease in demand for big, high-performance dedicated servers. Companies no longer wanted to host their own applications, according to Tyler, and instead were increasingly seeking out SaaS solutions.
“We found pretty quickly that finding companies that are building these SaaS-type products is the only way we’re going to survive,” he said.
With roughly 9-of-10 customers completely relying on Beyond Hosting for support and managed services, Tyler said the company’s technical expertise, consultative approach, and reputation for reliable, scalable cloud management presents an attractive option for organizations looking to grow.
Each SaaS solution comes with at least three web servers, a database server, load balancer, and file server — all of which are instantly scalable and designed with rapid traffic spikes in mind. After a free consultation, Beyond Hosting will build and maintain a dedicated, virtual, public, hybrid, or private cloud to the customer’s specs.
Instead of upselling customers various add-on features, Beyond Hosting insists on providing a full-service hosting experience complete with a vast array of standard features: 24/7 support and monitoring, automatic security patches and backups, virus and malware scanning, DDoS protection, firewalls, root access, and a 100% network uptime guarantee.
“We’re not a cheap provider,” Tyler said. “Everything we do, the servers, performance, security, reliability… price is not the important part. We emphasize support and managed service so customers can enjoy top-notch experiences.”
Beyond Hosting Consults With Customers Looking for Stability
New customers often come to Beyond Hosting with a solid idea of the infrastructure they desire — along with the tools and services their former provider never delivered. The company’s managed hosting experts keep an eye on organizations’ future goals as they construct forward-compatible environments that will scale easily to meet increased demands and workloads.
“We start building them solutions for scaling into that or give them a platform that, as they grow, they can easily scale up or move around to different servers or different services,” Tyler said. “We’ll make recommendations and implement them while also encouraging customers to come to us with their ideas of what they want to do. We’ll give them guidance on how to get there.”
Tyler said much of Beyond Hosting’s efforts are currently concentrated on providing high-availability services, load balancing, failover capabilities, and disaster-recovery options to meet customers’ inquiries. For the past five years or so, the company has produced 99.999% service uptime — roughly only five minutes of downtime per year.
“For a lot of these online businesses, their websites are obviously the most critical aspect of what they’re doing,” he said. “When it works fine, they don’t have to think about it. When it goes down, though, the world is literally on fire for them. A lot of what we do is making sure customers see those risks up front and understand the requirement for how important this is to you. Do you want to spend the money now or lose the money then?”
Audience Analysis: How Beyond Hosting Approaches Different Markets
Because Beyond Hosting has roots in the shared and virtual server realms, Tyler said the company is equipped to handle a wide range of customers. The website is more tailored to small and mid-market businesses looking for more simplified self-service options and Tier 1 support.
“Most of them will sign up through the website, and support can help guide them on what server size they need,” he said. “Then, over time, as their business starts to build or really demand technology resources, we start to slowly step them into a managed service.”
Beyond Hosting can help these companies with all technical aspects of their business, ranging from email and websites to connecting them with partners for design, marketing, and even phone and internet service.
Internally, however, the company’s leaders emphasize collaborations with enterprise-level companies that need custom configurations and partner relationships.
“We’ve tried the mid-market, and there’s definitely demand there, but it seems really hard to get into,” Tyler said. “In those environments with only one or two people running the IT show, they can get very protective and nervous about potentially moving into a managed space. With the enterprise space, however, most of those companies are like, ‘We have 50 applications. We don’t want to support all this.’”
Building a Remote Team With an Emphasis on Young Talent
While countless other hosting providers tout U.S.-based support and account management teams, Beyond Hosting takes a different approach. According to Tyler, the company places support and managed services first, technology and features second, and save billing and account management for last.
“That’s fine to talk about all-American support and not off-shoring anything, but if that’s your selling point, your support probably isn’t that great,” he said. “There is a spot for locally sourced, in-house talent you train yourself, and there’s a spot for low-cost, generic support teams for billing, collections, finance, and things anyone can do.”
Because Beyond Hosting has outsourced much of the mundane business operations, it can focus on attracting and training young staff. The company benefits from an interesting location near Cincinnati, Ohio, which boasts a low cost of living — as well as a strong nearby technical college.
“We’ve had a lot of success hiring people from there and training them on how we do things,” Tyler said. “We’re basically taking someone who is completely new to technology and showing them from the get-go, ‘Here’s the right way to do this.’”
Over the last few years, Beyond Hosting has become a remote company, with employees communicating almost exclusively on Slack. Tyler said the large group channels keep everyone on the same page, engaged, and learning. The company invests countless hours in training new employees and frequently pays for additional schooling.
“We give them the resources they need to be able to go out on their own, in their free time, and do cool stuff,” Tyler said. “We found once they have enough technical resources to mess around on their own, whether it’s running their own dedicated game server or something simple like that, it gets them thinking along the lines of, ‘What can I do that’s over the top and not necessary, but will do something extraordinarily well?’ Once we start getting people into that thought process, they really start to shine on our support teams.”