TL; DR: Hosting Controller, a market leader in automation services since 1999, now serves more than 5,000 companies in approximately 125 countries worldwide. Its unified control panel offers a hybrid solution for hosting companies, telcos, and service providers offering cloud and on-premises applications in a multi-tenant environment. Hosting Controller’s goal is to stay one step ahead in an ever-changing market through affordable price points, strategic development techniques, and a customer-first mentality.
Hosting Controller is an internet pioneer. In 1999, under the leadership of Founder and CEO Syed Nauman Hashmi, the Toronto-based company brought the world’s first Windows-based control panel into fruition — a move that echoed the 1996 release of cPanel, the first Linux-based control panel.
But the team wasn’t done trailblazing quite yet. Looking to bring Linux users into the fold, Hosting Controller went to work. “We started developing and made it a centralized console for managing both Windows and Linux servers,” Hosting Controller VP of Business Development Babar Zaman said.
That was 2007. By 2008, Hosting Controller began supporting Exchange 2007 and SharePoint as part of its multi-tenant solution suite. And, by 2010, the company introduced HCnix, a Linux-only version of the platform. From 2011 to 2015, as cloud computing gained attention in the hosting world, Hosting Controller began supporting virtual partitions on Hyper-V, VMware, and Xen.
Today, Hosting Controller has grown into a premier automation solution complete with responsive design for viewing on mobile devices. The company’s latest version of the platform, HC10, is a well-rounded portfolio of services for Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers as well as other cloud and on-premises hosting providers.
“With the way Microsoft changes its directions, we have had to evolve accordingly,” Babar said.
The market pioneer now serves more than 5,000 customers in 125 countries through a hybrid solution for cloud and on-premises applications. With a cost-effective approach, product development based on customer feedback, and a focus on customer support, Hosting Controller aims to maintain its forward-thinking status for years to come.
Automate It: Provisioning, Billing, Customer Management, On-Boarding
Automation has been an industry buzzword over the past few years — and rightly so. The technology has the potential to increase productivity, reduce errors, and ultimately boost economic growth.
Hosting Controller provides a unified hosting control panel designed to automate all aspects of operating a service provider business — including provisioning, billing, metering, customer management, and onboarding — from a single centralized interface. The platform also makes it easy to manage services in public clouds like Office 365, Azure, and AWS.
“Everything that we have developed from 1998 to 2018 has been brought onto a single control panel with different modules,” Babar said. “You install the control panel, and then you add on the different modules that you wish to use.”
To that end, Hosting Controller offers a comprehensive suite of hosted enterprise applications for automatic provisioning, including Hosted Exchange, Active Directory Synchronization, SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Dynamics CRM. As a Microsoft-certified company, Hosting Controller specializes in automating Microsoft products. In addition, the control panel features integration common billing systems including WHMCS.
“If I was associated with any industry either web hosting, telecommunication, or enterprise, I would use Hosting Controller because it saves a lot of time,” Babar said. “With the technology we have today, doing things manually is a waste of both resources and time.”
Babar said Hosting Controller stands apart from its competition in that its hybrid nature saves customers even more time on top of the benefits of automation.
“You don’t want to have to use two or three different platforms,” he said. “With hosting controller, you can manage everything through a single interface: You can log in and see what is going on with your public cloud, your on-premises solution, your web hosting, your expenses, and how much payment is coming in.”
A Hybrid Solution for On-Premises and Cloud-Based Service Providers
Babar told us the company’s goal is to empower users to merge data from multiple sources across multiple applications and platforms — creating a single access point for all operations.
To that end, Hosting Controller provides true hybrid control through a control panel for IaaS delivery off Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware hypervisors as well as cross-platform support for traditional web hosts looking to manage Windows and Linux servers simultaneously.
“We were originally devoted to on-premises solutions, but made a change as virtualization became more popular,” Babar said. “Now, one subscriber can manage multiple services via our control panel, whether they have something in the public cloud, on-premises, or both.”
The platform also contains a comprehensive self-serve portal allowing various personnel and departments granular access to their own interfaces. Providers may also grant self-service access to customers through the platform’s N-Tier user architecture, which provides management for admins, resellers, sub-resellers, and clients “all the way down to the nth degree.”
“Customers can log in for entry-level purposes or as a reseller,” Babar said. “Resellers can then have their own end-users, and those customers can also log into the control panel to manage it as well.”
Thanks to responsive design, this can all be done from a range of devices, from desktops to tablets and smartphones. Babar told us ease-of-use was a significant priority in the platform’s design. “Our goal was to take different tasks that are very complicated and allow users to manage them through a single console — and that’s a big achievement,” he said.
A Cost-Effective Approach Backed By Knowledgeable, Courteous Support
As competition continues to crowd the tech market, one thing’s for sure: Customer service is of utmost importance. Faced with numerous options, today’s customers won’t tolerate poor support — they’ll just move on to the next provider.
Smart tech companies realize this and act accordingly. Hosting Controller, for example, aims to keep customers happy through several resources and support options. Clients who like to take matters into their own hands may refer to the company’s free Community Forums, which allow users to discuss issues with Hosting Controller staff as well as other customers. Alternatively, they can search through hundreds of knowledgebase articles to find answers to frequently asked questions; or reference the guides, manuals, and tutorials available through the company’s online help system.
Looking for a hands-on approach? Hosting Controller offers a variety of support plans. New customers may test the company’s support at no cost during a 30-day evaluation period. After 30 days, the Hosting Controller team is available to create a custom support plan based on customer need.
“If you try Hosting Controller, one of the main differences you will see is how courteous we are, especially our support team,” Babar said. “We always go the extra mile to help our customers.”
To assist clients with the onboarding process, Hosting Controller offers robust online training programs geared toward both newer and experienced users. Babar told us the sessions help users become familiar with the control panel as well as educate them on the challenges inherent in managing and growing online business environments.
One Step Ahead: Strategic Development and New Product Releases
When it comes to product development, customer feedback is gold. But companies like Hosting Controller can’t rely on feedback alone when conjuring up new product ideas. At the end of the day, it’s their responsibility to be an authoritative voice in an ever-changing industry.
“We always prioritize what our customers are requesting, but at the same time we keep ourselves aware of the changes coming ahead, especially any major changes within Microsoft,” Babar said.
For example, Babar cites the Hosting Controller team’s prediction that Microsoft would move Office customers to the cloud, which led them to preemptively design their hybrid control panel to accommodate public cloud and on-premises applications in a multi-tenant environment.
“That was a change we anticipated, and because of that, we are where we are today,” Babar said. “Still, customers’ suggestions are very important.”
Next up on Hosting Controller’s development pipeline are a handful of new products: a billing and monitoring solution for AWS, various migration tools, and synchronization options.
“These products, which will be released soon, will fall under the platform of Hosting Controller but have their own brand name,” Babar said.
With a passion for innovation, the company intends to live up to its reputation as an industry pioneer.