TL; DR: With tentacles in many avenues over the years, Laughing Squid is one of the oldest web hosts, boasting affordable and reliable hosting all while maintaining a unique culture. Laughing Squid is also home to the famous blog about unique art, culture, and technology from around the world.
In the world of web hosting, there are many large companies that dominate the hosting space with lots of advertising and huge marketing teams. One company that’s been able to make a great name for themselves without following this traditional model is Laughing Squid.
When trying to describe what Laughing Squid is, it can be a bit difficult to get the big picture. Coming up on their 20th anniversary, Laughing Squid has had their tentacles reaching out into many different areas of the web over the years.
A film and video production company turned web hosting provider, Laughing Squid knows just what it takes to successfully get a website online and keep users engaged.
We had the chance to sit down with Scott Beale, primary tentacle and the founder of Laughing Squid, to get some insight into the company’s history and what they bring to the hosting market.
Half Great Web Hosting Company, Half Famous Blog
Originally started in 1995 in San Francisco as a film and production company, Laughing Squid worked on producing documentaries initially. There is a whole back story behind the Laughing Squid name, which basically boils down to Scott’s interest in squids and also being a great metaphor for wanting to do multiple things with the company.
The Squid List: an Events Mailing List and Calendar
In 1996, Laughing Squid released The Squid List, a San Franciso Bay area events mailing list and calendar. This was the first tentacle stretched out from the initial company’s inception and the first forte into the online world.
Laughing Squid Gets Serious About Web Hosting
Working with creative clients, Laughing Squid did publicity and web design for years. Then in 1998, the company narrowed its focus on providing web hosting. Scott had been a webmaster for the internal Burning Man website around the same time as Laughing Squid began pushing into hosting. “The hosting basically helps take the pressure off the blog and having to chase pageviews,” Scott explained.
The Laughing Squid Logo
The story of the Laughing Squid logo helps encompass the idea that Laughing Squid isn’t about just one thing, and the final logo used today was gifted by one of the San Francisco The Squid List subscribers, Matt Dong.
The Laughing Squid Blog
A few years later, the Laughing Squid Blog was launched in 2003. It focused on daily features of unique art, culture, and technology from all over. The web hosting side of things helped to offset the costs of running a blog, and once it became an established medium, the Laughing Squid blog allowed Laughing Squid Web Hosting to stay relevant and profitable without the need to spend a single advertising dollar.
The Laughing Squid Store
Most recently the Laughing Squid Store featuring all sorts of tech products also launched, which helps offset costs even more for running the blog and hosting aspects of the company.
Because Laughing Squid had a long standing relationship with Automattic, the creators of WordPress, they switched their blog to the WordPress platform in 2005. They maintain a great relationship with the WordPress community and helped sponsor the very first WordCamp conference, and today Laughing Squid is one of only a handful of web hosts directly recommended on the official WordPress recommended hosting page.
Powerful Affordable Hosting, Transparency, and No Commitments
Laughing Squid has been reselling web hosting space for more than a decade on Rackspace’s various platforms and evolving alongside them. Technically speaking, Laughing Squid is one of Rackspace’s oldest customers, starting with them back in 1999. Currently using Rackspace’s Cloud Sites hosting platform, Laughing Squid is able to offer very powerful but affordable web hosting to the masses.
“You won’t see pictures of someone standing in front of a rack of servers like in a stock photo or a picture with someone with a headset,” Scott said. Laughing Squid has always been very transparent with the fact that they are reselling hosting.
Keeping with the theme of their logo, Laughing Squid is a distributed company with Tentacle Team members in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Boulder. This allows the team to be very nimble and efficient while also cutting costs by not needing a central office for everyone to work from.
Honest and Fair Pricing for Web Hosting
Most web hosts require you to sign up for a year at a time, or even multiple years at once in order to entice you with affordable hosting offers. Laughing Squid has a no nonsense approach to great hosting, and all of their plans are monthly and start at $4/month. You can get a great rate and cancel at anytime without having to worry about long-term contracts.
Laughing Squid Hangs with Some Great Company
Another company Laughing Squid was an early adopter of was Zendesk for their support ticketing system, and they even got in early with FreshBooks for invoicing and Stripe for credit card processing before these companies were well-known in the industry.
Laughing Squid has developed great relationships with some amazing technology leaders over the years, and along with their experience from running a successful blog, they are in a great position to help others get their websites online.
Final Thoughts on Laughing Squid
If you’re looking for a great way to kill some time, then the Laughing Squid Blog should have enough juicy content to keep you coming back for more again and again.
If you want to start up your own blog or website without all the fuss, signing up for Laughing Squid web hosting is a great way to power your online presence, while also helping to support the blog and unique culture of Laughing Squid.
It’s very tough these days to find a honest hosting company, and Laughing Squid is a breath of fresh air from the standard run-around you might receive from some larger web hosts.
With month-to-month billing, an awesome hosting platform, and support from a group of great guys, if you’re in the market for a web host, you should definitely give Laughing Squid a shot.