TL; DR: PloxHost has evolved since its start as a budget Minecraft server provider by adding more advanced solutions for gamers and admins. Those include virtual private servers that scale with the size of a game’s player base. Responsive customer support channels and a commitment to customization have also helped PloxHost significantly expand its product portfolio while keeping prices low. Moving forward, PloxHost plans to add more cutting-edge hardware and support for additional gaming platforms.
Minecraft debuted in May 2009 and experienced its golden age between 2010 and 2012. But the block-based building and adventure game remains popular, with 126 million people, who log on to play every month.
Minecraft also spawned an entire technology ecosystem, including companies specializing in virtual private servers for game instances. And competition for that slice of the industry is fierce.
In most of the hosting world, concern over things like control-panel speed or frequency of software updates can take a back seat to price and uptime. But with gaming-focused VPS providers, those seemingly minor details prove to be significant differentiators, often as important as price and hardware performance.
“It’s all about innovation,” said Zack Winston, CEO of PloxHost, which offers Minecraft players and admins a robust VPS solution. “Our goal is to be one of the most innovative hosting providers on the market. We use a panel called Multicraft, and our goal is to make it as customized as possible at a low and reliable price, as well.”
Mark David, the community manager of PloxHost, agreed. “We allow scaling from anyone who wants to run a small server to a legitimate server and make money off of it,” he said.
That includes everyone from teenage hobbyists to the most sophisticated game administrators.
The recent uptick in Minecraft’s visibility and popularity comes at a perfect time for PloxHost, which has rolled out a series of significant under-the-hood improvements to its Minecraft hosting platform. The company also added new hardware and subscription options to support more complex hosting solutions for gaming and beyond.
From a Minecraft VPS to Other Game-Scaling Opportunities
PloxHost started as a low-cost Minecraft server provider, the first in a crowded market to offer dollar-per-gigabyte hosting. As with many initial entrants to the field, its products and services were imperfect, and there wasn’t much differentiation among providers.
“We came into this market with the same issues everyone else was having, including lagging servers, no support, and high prices,” Zack said.
That early rough period eventually smoothed out. And as PloxHost evolved, it rewrote its control panel from scratch, driven by the requests and the pain points of its clients.
“If our clients have a custom request to have a feature within our control panel, we provide that for them,” Zack said.
The company currently runs Multicraft, but Zack said that PloxHost could customize it to such an extent that clients might not even recognize it. Improvements include white labeling, custom message-of-the-day tools, one-click backups, and faster panel load times.
“Panel load time has always been an issue,” he said. “We’ve been working on ways to update the panel, so it’s less on the clients and more on the server. That way, it updates much faster compared to updating on the browser.”
The company’s experience with customizing Minecraft led it to branch out into related markets. PloxHost now offers four tiers of enterprise web hosting, three types of Discord bot hosting, 10 premium kernel-based virtual machine hosting plans, and 10 virtual private server hosting plans, including both budget and extreme hosting plans for Minecraft. The company even has three tiers of Linux-based reseller plans. PloxHost also maintains servers in the United States, Canada, and Germany.
“The goal of VPS hosting is, if a Minecraft server gets really big, they’ll want to move,” Zack said. “They want their own platform and better performance. A lot of our VPS clients are those people just upgrading from Minecraft servers to something more extreme.”
But its tools aren’t limited to Minecraft. According to Mark, PloxHost is expanding into new games, including Terraria and FiveM, and developing premium server lines with I9 processors. And PloxHost still offers VPS solutions with dedicated resources and additional server memory for very popular Minecraft servers that host thousands of players.
Superior Support Helps Admins Play Hard, Not Configure Hard
Most service providers offer customer support channels that rely on online ticketing systems and toll-free support numbers. PloxHost’s origins within the gaming community prompted the company to open a channel on Discord, the communications server popular with gamers and streamers.
“We have a lot of younger clients coming to us, and a lot of them use Discord,” Zack said. “It’s easier for them because they have the application open all the time, so they can easily make a support ticket and chat one-on-one with us.”
Its Discord server includes custom bots that integrate with the PloxHost billing system, so chat agents see the client’s billing data directly in the app.
Minecraft servers often act as a gateway for game enthusiasts eager to get behind the scenes but who lack experience managing their own servers.
“We dig down on support because we see a lot of younger clients,” Mark said. “Some of them have no clue what they’re doing. That’s a huge point for us, having an amazing support team.”
One early support problem, which proved common with early Minecraft VPS providers, was related to Minecraft updates. The game continually pushes updates, and clients asked PloxHost to include those on its panels right away.
So the company created a system that automatically adds updates as they come out. That means whenever a new version posts, PloxHost users receive those builds instantly.”
Although PloxHost continues to substantially augment the Multicraft control panel, it recently refined its backend infrastructure and website.
“We’re trying to make everything as easy as possible for anybody to launch a server at any time,” Mark said.
PloxHost: Next-Generation Hosting At a Reasonable Price
Because PloxHost owns all of its own hardware, the company controls what it puts on its servers, without relying on middleman providers. That provides gamers and admins with a fast, consistent experience with Minecraft and other titles.
“We know the quality we buy and what we expect,” Mark said. “Owning our hardware is much cheaper and allows us to invest money back into parts of the company that needs work. And we pass those savings on to our customers. We can also scale with customers who decide to use our dedicated platform.”
The company shares that in-house, customization-first ethos with its customers, as well. PloxHost grants subscribers full access to their server-specific control panels. Clients can use the web console or FTP, or rely on a library of one-click modification packs to tweak their servers. Other offerings include advanced DDOS protection and 99.9% uptime SLAs, standards that help keep games running without interruption. Most of these resources were unheard-of a decade ago.
Minecraft hosting, and game hosting in general, has advanced well beyond the Wild West days of the early 2010s. With more advanced hardware, integrated control panels, and add-ons, like Discord hosting and VPS solutions, PloxHost customers can enjoy more options at lower price points than ever before. And with the recent renewed interest in Minecraft, hosting providers are well-positioned to give customers their best experience ever.
“We take input from all of our customers,” Mark said. “Whether it be new hardware or more plans. We listen to them whenever they want, and we’ll try to make it happen.”