TL; DR: Launching 20 years ago as a no-frills, low-cost domain registrar, UK2.NET has since grown into one of the UK’s most popular and trusted full-service hosts. The industry veteran now powers thousands of sites and has registered more than 1 million domain names, providing customers with everything needed to succeed online. Acquired by eCommerce giant The Hut Group in 2017, the UK2 family of tech brands will soon relaunch as THG Ingenuity to better assist its wide range of customers.
Twenty years ago, “Titanic” was captivating audiences around the world. No one had heard of a Google, and Facebook didn’t exist.
James Hughes wasn’t yet old enough to work, but the brand he’d eventually come to support was already making waves as a low-cost, no-frills domain name provider. UK2.NET experienced rapid growth following its launch in 1998 and became the UK’s largest host only two years later.
The company is now poised to embark on an exciting new journey with parent company The Hut Group, which operates more than 140 health, beauty, and lifestyle eCommerce brands. The merger of UK2’s cloud and security infrastructure with The Hut Group’s prowess in eCommerce and marketing means hosting customers will have a full suite of services to establish and grow their small businesses.
“We’ve survived recessions and fierce competition, and we’ve done that through being able to offer a constantly evolving model that adapts to what people need,” James said. “We’re providing you with a package that gives you everything you need to get online.”
Providing Beginners With Easy, Affordable Domain Names
UK2 continues to offer strong domain name registration and hosting services, particularly with .co.uk domains — which the company sells for a penny for the first year when customers register for at least two years. The affordability extends to .com domains, which cost £6.99 (just under $9).
“Everything starts with the domain name,” James said. “It’s the very first thing you need to get online, and that’s where we can be very competitive and help our customers the most.”
Each domain comes with a free one-page website that customers can spin up in less than five minutes. The StarterSite perk, which James said UK2 recently created, helps first-time site owners quickly launch a simple site.
“There’s nothing else in the hosting market like this, especially in the UK at the moment,” he said. “It has all the information on there you need for a basic website for your business. You can then upgrade as time goes by.”
Cutting Through the Confusion of Getting Online
Once a customer’s new domain name is registered and configured (they’re free with hosting accounts), UK2 provides the full slate of options, including a site builder, SEO tools, and email hosting. Large or growing businesses can scale to optimized VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting, along with managed services.
“We’ve got 20 years of web hosting experience, so we absolutely know what we’re doing,” James said. “Whether you’re a massive corporation that wants to take on the eCommerce world or you want to come in as a small business that wants to get online, we’ve got you covered.”
UK2 accomplishes this, in part, by catering to beginners with bundled packages geared for those looking for a site builder or online store setup. The website builder package includes domain, web, and email hosting, while the online shop builder enables secure payment processing and product management systems.
“If you’re a small business owner today, say a mechanic who has owned his garage for 20 years, you need to get online,” James said. “But how do you do that? That’s a big question. You need support, and you need a platform that offers the complete package to get you online. That’s the reason behind what we do and what we do well.”
Attention to Customers Ensure Relevant, Well-Supported Features
UK2’s products are engineered to save customers time and money while delivering the high performance and reliable uptime needed to produce a strong return on the hosting investment. According to James, many of the company’s products and services — including 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee — came about via customer requests.
“We’re big on customer feedback, and that’s driven how we’ve changed over the years,” he said. “We’re 100% behind our customers. If they succeed, we succeed.”
The company regularly connects with customers through surveys and focus groups to ensure they’re receiving enough help and support, while employees on the bare-metal server side of the business also keep an eye on what infrastructure and features competitors are offering.
“We monitor the competition very closely, of course, like any other business does, but we really try to keep our customers at the very center of what we do,” James said. “Customer focus is something we pride ourselves on.”
As the UK2 marketing and eCommerce teams gather to discuss new features, James said the company emphasizes an open, supportive environment where anyone can suggest an idea.
“Anybody could be one of our customers is how I look at it,” he said. “We’re selling stuff for beginners to online marketers and experts. We’ve got it all under one roof, so it’s about bringing great ideas to the table, making sure we have a strong team, and really nurturing creativity.”
How the UK2 Team Will Continue to Adapt in the Future
The UK2 brand will soon undergo some changes to seamlessly merge into The Hut Group’s portfolio and expand its eCommerce offerings.
“We want to be able to sell The Hut Group’s platform, how we made our business online, to anyone who wants to make a difference themselves,” James said. “That’s what our engineering team is going to be all about.”
As such, UK2 will soon rebrand as THG Ingenuity and relaunch with an eCommerce hosting solution geared to serve companies of all sizes. Under the UK2 umbrella is also 100TB.com that offers expansive infrastructure solutions for enterprise and midmarket clients.
“Whether you’re a small business, someone blogging online, or a massive corporation that wants to take the success we’ve made online and make it a success for your business in the same way, we’ve got you covered,” James said. “It’s a ground-up solution.”