TL; DR: With news of data breaches and emerging online threats hitting the headlines seemingly every day, having a robust site security solution is top of mind for most modern businesses. And, as the GDPR is now in effect across Europe, locking down sensitive data has become more crucial than ever for businesses that want to keep their doors open. Enter ScalaHosting. The company’s SSD cloud servers were built to meet the performance and security demands of today’s online business environment. Even better news: They’re delivered at price points accessible to SMEs. We recently sat down with CEO Vince Robinson, who told us how Scala is leading the charge for more cost-friendly and secure cloud solutions.
ScalaHosting started 11 years ago with the goal of differentiating itself in the shared hosting market by offering a great product at an affordable rate. But the founding team immediately recognized a fundamental flaw in the shared hosting model: shared servers deliver inherently unsecure environments.
In fact, one recent study showed that an estimated 1,700 websites were compromised every day in February 2018. That translated to roughly 19,000 websites in the US, nearly 1,300 in Germany, and just under 5,000 in Indonesia. Another example that demonstrates the scope of the threat landscape came on a single day, February 27th, when hundreds of websites powered by the popular content management systems WordPress and Joomla were infected with ionCube Malware.
If you’re wondering how many of those websites were compromised merely because they shared a server with another infected website, the percentage is very high, according to the folks at ScalaHosting. Which is why Scala has launched an affordable solution to the problem with its SSD cloud virtual private servers.
A Team With Vast IT Experience Makes Server Management Easy
ScalaHosting CEO Vince Robinson has a simple philosophy: make a good product at an affordable price to keep customers happy, and your business will grow. And that’s just what he’s done with ScalaHosting. Vince told us the company’s goal has always been to differentiate itself from the competition.
“When we started, we knew we had a great product,” he said. “We hired people with experience in web hosting and seasoned technicians that were able to best serve our customer base. We work to keep our customers happy so that they keep renewing with us and tell their friends.”
In May 2018, ScalaHosting rolled out its high-security, fully managed SSD cloud servers starting at just $12 per month. And Vince noted that the reception has been extremely positive.
“We have been working for the last few years on a solution that will allow people to have their own server at an affordable price,” he said. “At the moment, to have their own fully managed server, they require multiple things, including management and a control panel, which can cost a lot.”
As a result, Vince and company built an in-house control panel that is compatible with cPanel. This worked to bring down the costs while still providing full management.
“With that cPanel compatibility, we can migrate websites from cPanel, and they work in the same way they did on the cPanel server,” Vince said. “In the end, users get a fully managed cloud server with dedicated systems resources for their websites. Sites are cloned weekly, are much more secure, and they don’t pay too much for the server.”
Vince told us many of Scala’s existing customers immediately made the switch from shared hosting to running their own servers with the new control panel. And it’s not just the low prices that have these customers talking. The backups, zero CPU limits, ease of use, and customization options are the real selling points.
“One of the best things about having your own server is that it can be configured to meet the needs of the website you run,” Vince said. “It can have custom security policies, and you can configure the server to your requirements.”
This isn’t possible on shared servers. In a shared environment, configurations are set to try to meet the needs of a number of users, and, according to Vince, one configuration just doesn’t do the trick.
“In the current version of our control panel, people can manage their email accounts, change passwords, and remove email boxes,” he said. “They can do email forwarding and access webmail. POP3 and IMAP access are also included.
Full database management is an integral part of the offering. Users can remove databases, add and remove users, grant or revoke access to databases, or view them via PHPMyAdmin — just like they can in cPanel. Site owners can also add subdomains or edit their DNS zones.
“In terms of security, we have also integrated a free SSL certificate on each domain,” Vince said. “Each domain that is added and pointed to the server automatically gets an SSL certificate. We don’t have a single website on our servers that doesn’t have an SSL certificate, which is pretty important. This way all the data that is sent and received between the visitor and the web server is encrypted and can’t be stolen.”
Keeping Sites Secure for Businesses and Their Customers
The May 2018 GDPR deadline has come and gone, and businesses worldwide — even if they’re not located in the EU — are finding that compliance with the regulation’s data security guidelines makes good business sense. And, for a growing number of organizations, maintaining a secure online business environment means migrating away from shared hosting environments.
“Having your website on a separate server will surely give you much more security, and your personal data won’t be as easily stolen,” Vince said. “There’s a greater risk that data will be compromised when it’s stored on a shared server. If one out of 100 sites on that server is attacked, other users in the environment are at risk.”
Vince told us that running dedicated servers is out of reach for many small to mid-market businesses. However, the company’s SSD cloud servers were developed to do the trick just as well.
“The market needed something new,” he said.
In addition to its new SSD cloud server launch, Scala is also making content management systems, like WordPress, safer.
“We are now in the process of building a WordPress manager that has custom security plugins that we developed,” Vince said. “It locks the WordPress installation so it can’t be hacked. Even if there was a compromised module in the WordPress installation, it still can’t be compromised because of our plugin.”
High-Performance Cloud Servers for an Array of Use Cases
“Shared Hosting is Obsolete” is emblazoned across the top of the ScalaHosting’s SSD Cloud server product page. And, when looking at the four price plans on that page, it’s easy to see the truth behind the statement.
The entry-level package starts at just $12 per month and includes 1 CPU core, 2GB of RAM, and a 20GB SSD. The package tiers go up in price and options from there. However, the Enterprise plan still only runs $66 per month and features 6 CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, and an 80GB SSD. All four packages are fully managed, cPanel compatible, with 99.9% uptime guarantees, daily backups, and guaranteed resources.
“Security is the most important advantage of getting a separate server,” Vince said. “The second important thing is that, when a website is compromised and starts sending spam, the server gets blacklisted as a result. Then no one on that server can send email, or their mail is delivered to the spam folder, which is a pretty huge inconvenience for businesses that use lots of email communication.”
Vince noted the best way to combat this is by running on a VPS, cloud, or dedicated server.
“The third big advantage is that your website will always load up because you get guaranteed system resources,” Vince said. “On a shared server hundreds of websites are using the server’s resources. They’re sharing the resources, and each of those websites may affect the server’s performance at any time and make all other websites load slowly. ScalaHosting has guaranteed resources and a fast loading 24 hours a day.”
Up Next: A Greater Push for Affordable Cloud Solutions
Ultimately, ScalaHosting’s goal is to give all site owners the ability to leverage their own servers at industry-low prices.
“That is not simple,” Vince said. “But, with the control panel we are developing and the system we developed for managing our cloud infrastructure, we are now able to provide that to our customers all over the world.”
Vince told us that he envisions the landscape to undergo a dramatic shift during the next five to eight years where most businesses will have moved away from shared hosting.
“The shared hosting market share has been decreasing for several years,” he said. “More people are running on their own servers rather than shared hosting.”
Vince said he’s proud that Scala is at the forefront of this sea change.
“I’m sure that many other hosting providers will look for solutions that allow them to provide fully managed servers to people at affordable prices,” he said. “But we started preparing to do that years ago. We knew the world is going that way. Now we’re able to provide that to customers while continuing to develop solutions to help users manage their servers perfectly.”