TL; DR: With more than 15 years of high-end hosting experience, Simply assists customers with complicated infrastructure requirements by building custom environments or providing reliable dedicated, cloud, or virtual servers. The British company, part of the Namesco group of global hosting brands, has carved out a niche by providing sophisticated solutions and support to thousands of customers. Simply boasts a 99.999% network uptime guarantee and 10-minute responses to support tickets, enabling the company to distinguish itself in a crowded market.
For 15 years, PoundHost basked in its British heritage. With a name and brand built around the country’s currency, PoundHost developed a top-notch hosting network based on name-brand servers and personal support.
Despite owning and operating a 50,000-square-foot datacenter in the Thames Valley, however, an increasing number of customers began associating the PoundHost name with cheap hosting services, according to Commercial Manager Abhinav Mathur.
“They were confusing the brand name with the equivalent of dollar stores in the US,” he said.
The leaders at Namesco, which owns PoundHost and several other companies that concentrate on selling domain names and shared hosting, decided to distinguish PoundHost by rebranding the company to Simply Hosting and Servers in mid-2016.
“It was important that we made a statement that we aren’t a cheap hosting brand,” Abhinav said. “We’re a brand that has some really high-value customers of real importance. Dedicated hosting is a product we want to focus on, and the association with the pound didn’t support our vision of high-impact hosting. We are proudly British, but our future aspirations go much further afield.”
Finding Success in Dedicated Servers and Custom Solutions
According to Abhinav, Simply targets two types of customers with the company’s dedicated, cloud, and virtual servers: the experienced consumers who need high-performance hardware and low-friction support, and users who may not be sure what configurations will work best for their business needs.
“Most of the time, these customers don’t really know what they need,” he said. “They know they have a problem, but they don’t know how to solve it.”
For that audience, Simply constructs custom architectures — an area in which the company has experienced a tremendous amount of growth, Abhinav said.
“These are fairly complex solutions, simplified through Simply,” he said. “With the technical resources we have, we’re able to offer solutions that involve multiple servers, load balancers, and hardware firewalls, all working together, to meet a customer’s needs.”
Domain Names vs. Dedicated Servers: How Simply Stands Out
Key to Simply’s success, according to Abhinav, is recognizing the division in the hosting industry between customers who are seeking dedicated servers and those in the crowded market of domain names and shared hosting.
Particularly with small and growing businesses that sign up for shared hosting, Abhinav said Namesco companies often recommend that the customers protect their brands by purchasing multiple domain names. That sales approach, however, doesn’t resonate with Simply’s typical audience.
“Unlike domain names, dedicated servers are more like a car,” Abhinav said. “Once you have one, you don’t really need another one unless there is a demand or a need. You just don’t buy a server because it’s available and hold onto it.”
While most Namesco brands concentrate on the shared hosting and domain names market, Simply focuses on helping more established brands deploy and manage high-powered hardware.
“The level of customer engagement is lower for those seeking dedicated servers, but the sales cycle is much longer,” Abhinav said.
Gaining Prominence in a Crowded Market With Superior Service
With GoDaddy’s late-2016 acquisition of Host Europe Group (HEG) for $1.79 billion, the hosting giant now controls more than half of the UK’s domain names and shared hosting markets, Abhinav said. At the time of the transaction, HEG was Europe’s largest privately owned hosting provider and served more than 1.7 million customers.
Even though the consolidation of two major forces in the industry presents serious challenges to the Namesco stable of hosting companies, Abhinav said the lessons learned play into Simply’s strengths.
“Finding a new customer who still wants a domain name, and the domain is still available, is very difficult,” he said. “The only way to grow is by addressing customers’ pain points, which realistically are price and service. A customer will leave Competitor A based on the amount they’re paying or the service they’ve received.”
Although Simply is not the cheapest in the market, the company’s prices are very competitive. Where Simply differentiates itself, according to Abhinav, is by producing a high level of service.
In addition to guaranteeing 99.999% network uptime and 100% power availability in its datacenter, Simply promises a 10-minute response to support tickets.
“We don’t automate those responses, either,” he said. “Someone will literally see that ticket and respond, usually in way less than our 10-minute promise.”
The above-average service level agreements reward customers with a free day of hosting services for every hour of unanticipated downtime.
“There’s no point in painting your competitor black,” Abhinav said. “It’s best to paint yourself white. We try to offer the best possible service and really get to know our customers.”
Using Data to Drive Product Decisions and Build Company Culture
Simply and Namesco executives regularly examine metrics associated with both server performance and customer satisfaction, Abhinav said, laughingly calling the leadership team “massive geeks.”
“We look at data very seriously on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “Our chief executive’s office is all TV screens, and the only thing that happens there are graphs and charts. He’s one of those wizards that just has numbers all around.”
Competitor analysis and a variety of benchmarks track customer needs and Simply’s performance in terms of offering comparable products, prices, and performance. Analytics also extend to Google searches, according to Abhinav, which reveal what customers are specifically looking for and can drive how the company’s services are marketed.
The data-driven mindset permeates throughout the company, with employees looking to constantly improve a variety of metrics as they launch new products to meet customer needs. Simply recently accepted a shipment of more than 80 new servers that Abhinav said would offer a new range of services to customers.
“It’s not about somebody’s whims and fancies,” he said. “We’re going with what our customers ask for. We consider a lot of different things when determining what products to offer, and that makes this a very exciting time.”
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