TL; DR: For more than 16 years, UKDedicated saw a steady rise in the number of hosting customers demanding virtualized environments and fully managed solutions. So the company founded GURU, a managed cloud hosting service optimized for customers in the U.K. GURU’s bundled product packages are comprehensive and include the speed, security, storage, and backup solutions that clients need. And its 24/7 on-site customer support and migration services help businesses quickly move their websites to GURU’s fast cloud network and stay online.
UKDedicated has provided infrastructure solutions for hosting companies, ecommerce websites, and a variety of other customers in the U.K. since 2002. As an innovative company, UKDedicated often responds to user demand with forward-thinking solutions. But sometimes, it takes more than just a product or service to meet those goals — it takes a whole new brand.
As the company saw demand increase for managed solutions and cloud environments, it decided to go beyond just adding new products. That’s why UKDedicated founded GURU, a brand that offers fast, managed web hosting and cloud services optimized for businesses and entrepreneurs in the U.K.
In spite of the crowded state of the British hosting marketplace, GURU has separated itself from the competition in a short time. It offers the type of managed cloud environments that customers have come to rely on since they were popularized by Amazon Web Services.
“Six or seven years ago, AWS started to win over a lot of new customers. Many companies still bought their own servers, but others found that they got much better value through virtualization because it allowed them to scale up and scale down as needed,” said GURU Director Craig Robinson.
Today, GURU customers enjoy the speed, security, and scalability of its managed services, but the company differentiates itself further through its infrastructure and support. GURU owns all of its hardware, unlike many hosts that rent space in datacenters owned by other entities. And all of the company’s staff is in-house — either at its offices or its datacenters — and on-site technical teams keep everything running smoothly.
The GURU team is committed to doing the right thing for its clients. That’s why the company never ties customers to contracts that last for years. Instead, it offers monthly rolling services without any commitments.
This thoughtful way of doing business is the reason GURU has become the successful hosting provider that many U.K. businesses rely on for quality service.
Why U.K. Companies Prefer Virtualization and Managed Hosting
A decade and a half in business is a long time, especially in the rapidly changing hosting marketplace. UKDedicated adapted to many of those changes itself, but when it saw a specific need in the cloud hosting market, the company took a different route.
One common problem it observed was from businesses whose ecommerce sites received a large amount of traffic during holiday shopping months — from October to January — but much less traffic the rest of the year. If those customers purchased their own servers, or had a yearly contract for dedicated servers they wouldn’t have any flexibility during those slow months. UKDedicated realized that those businesses needed a scalable, virtualized environment, which was why it founded GURU.
The GURU team quickly learned that customers didn’t always understand the products they purchased.
“When GURU launched, we offered an unmanaged shared hosting option as well as a fully managed service. Soon, we realized that, while a lot of our clients bought unmanaged servers, what they really expected was a managed service,” Craig said. “We decided to make things simple, so we revamped GURU with an improved cloud infrastructure at the same price point, and getting rid of the unmanaged solution.”
GURU took everything it had discovered about customer needs and included it in its service structure. Today, its fully managed bundle is administered by its on-site team. Customers don’t need to know how to code, patch, monitor, or update their servers — the GURU team takes care of all of that.
Another differentiator is GURU’s cloud service. While many of its competitors claim to be cloud providers, they typically offer dedicated servers that run CloudLinux or dedicated boxes with VPS. When that hardware goes down, customer websites are offline until the machines start working again. But GURU runs a separate storage network at 100 GBs a second. The company can also add and remove servers without ever taking a customer’s site offline.
GURU is an authentic cloud hosting solution that keeps sites running quickly and reliably while helping customers focus on creating and selling.
Solutions Designed to Bring Simplicity to Hosting and Upgrading
Another way GURU improved on existing solutions was by simplifying its upgrade process.
“In the past, if a customer was on our LiteSpeed shared service and moves to a small unmanaged VPS, they would lose some of the benefits that their old package offered. For example, they might not get CloudLinux or other products,” Craig said. “We fixed that problem by providing the customers who buy our lowest price monthly shared package with the same stack, licenses, monitoring, and backup plan as the customers who buy our top-of-the-line dedicated packages. We want to keep it as simple as possible, so our customers can upgrade without running into any surprises.”
Those ideas — simplicity and compatibility — run through all of GURU’s services. And when potential customers ask why its package prices are different than those offered by other companies, GURU staff members explain that it is because the company includes everything customers need.
“We’re actually more affordable than many other hosting services because we don’t boost our prices by turning important features into add-ons. Everything our customers need, they get in one bundled package,” Craig said.
That is especially important with backups. When other hosting providers hide their backups in a list of expensive add-ons, their customers may be vulnerable to losing valuable data if their websites crash. And GURU offers its clients two types of backups. One is run by continuous data protection (CDP) and is accessible to clients, and the other is a complete hourly offsite Disaster Recovery replication of the entire Cloud. That means none of GURU’s customers need to worry about permanently losing any of their data.
Customer Support, Cloud Solutions, and Free Migration Set GURU Apart
A recent trend in the U.K. has been consolidation as larger hosting companies acquire smaller ones to grow their market share. But UKDedicated went in the opposite direction by starting GURU to meet the need for managed virtualization services.
A side effect of consolidation is ever-shrinking customer support resources, which is why GURU receives plenty of questions from potential customers about its service.
Unlike many hosting providers, GURU’s support staff is available 24/7. Nothing is outsourced, and every customer question is answered by a representative who is either at GURU headquarters or working in one of its datacenters. Customers can call, send emails, or use the website’s live chat portal.
And GURU’s migration team can bring in sites from anywhere, no matter what engine the original provider runs or what plug-ins its content management system uses. GURU’s staff translates everything over to its system, running a GTmetrix test before and after the migration to ensure that its setup makes the site run more efficiently.
“We like to do a little extra. We’re an independent provider that has grown because we do pretty much anything our customers need,” said Craig. “Over the years, we’ve seen our clients grow from small sites to using their own dedicated servers. And we’re proud to support that kind of transformation.”