TL; DR: Webscale is not your average hosting provider. In addition to offering fully managed cloud hosting, the company empowers ecommerce businesses to right-size their cloud infrastructure through flexible and innovative autoscaling. The result is 100% uptime, lightning-fast performance, and robust security that ensures retailers won’t lose sales due to faulty web technologies.
As an online retailer, chances are you’ve found yourself between a rock and a hard place when preparing for fluctuating web traffic.
Ultimately, it’s a gamble. You can either purchase extra capacity to cover spikes in demand that may never come or allocate resources conservatively to save money — but lose out on sales should an unexpected traffic surge crash your site.
But, with the help of modern technology, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Webscale, a managed cloud hosting provider, leverages an auto-scaling technique that allows ecommerce businesses to access infinite capacity on-demand, only paying for the resources they use.
“We want to make the cloud so easy for retailers to use that it’s like a utility,” said Andrew Humber, VP of Marketing at Webscale. “Because the infrastructure is right-sized, you can lower costs by up to 75% while ensuring you’ll always be covered in the event of a traffic surge.”
Webscale’s real-time and predictive auto-scaling can forecast traffic increases, scaling ahead of demand to deliver 100% uptime. More than 3,000 storefronts now use the technology to keep websites available and page-load times consistent, regardless of traffic volume.
The platform employs automation to ensure automatic scalability, end-to-end security, stellar performance, outage prevention, and easy management in multi-cloud environments like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. The approach is highly unique in the ecommerce industry.
“We stand apart because we were truly born in the cloud, unlike most companies with traditional, server-based backgrounds,” he said. “More often than not, these companies use outdated, private clouds. They also leverage standard toolsets from public cloud providers in a bolted-together set up that requires high-touch management.”
A Visionary in Cloud Computing and Infrastructure
Webscale’s roots can be traced back to 2008 when Founder Jay Smith wrote a graduate-level research paper on decentralized resource management.
“The paper explored how the cloud could be used with predictive algorithms to scale out network infrastructure — adding more computer power, rather than scaling up through the addition of more servers,” Andrew said. “The goal was to give ecommerce businesses right-sized infrastructure during sudden traffic spikes and to do it predictably, being able to look ahead of demand so retailers never hit those walls that make a site slow down or crash.”
In 2012, around the time cloud computing was making a splash in mainstream markets, Jay began transforming his paper into a product. The resulting prototype was a success, so Jay began to focus on funding a business. The company was officially founded in 2013 after receiving seed funding.
“We’re a little different from other hosting providers because of Jay’s background,” Andrew said. “At our core, we’re a technology company. We’re also Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) with a technology stack focused only on ecommerce. After spending years focused on predictive scaling, we’ve also added end-to-end security, and we’ve wrapped everything together with automation.”
The company is also cloud-agnostic and can run on platforms like Alibaba Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS. After initially operating in a bring-your-own-hosting manner, the company now integrates hosting solutions into all of its plans.
Today, the company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Boulder and Bangalore. The team remains focused on its initial mission — to serve as the go-to company for ecommerce cloud solutions, provide 100% uptime, unlimited scalability, high performance, and top-notch security and control via a single platform.
An Unconventional Approach to Customer Support
Webscale’s robust feature set, enabling peak performance, disaster recovery, and high uptime rates, gives Andrew plenty of fodder when showcasing Webscale’s products and services from behind the tradeshow booth.
But he told us his favorite aspect of Webscale to tell people about is not the innovative technology but the company’s incredible customer service.
“One of our core values is to deliver, no matter what, and that’s something we take to heart,” Andrew said. “When we ask ecommerce businesses what made them change providers, they often cite support as the reason — they’ve had some significant pain, whether it’s a security breach or an outage at the worst time.”
Many hosting providers force customers to navigate tier-based support systems — a strategy that often leads to slower resolution times, frustrated customers, and lower customer satisfaction scores. Webscale takes a radically different approach.
“We flipped traditional support on its head,” Andrew said. “In the ecommerce space, 30 minutes of downtime can cost you thousands of dollars as a mid-market retailer and millions if you’re an enterprise-grade ecommerce provider.”
At Webscale, each support ticket goes directly to the highest tier. “If it’s an urgent fix, they’ll get it done right away,” Andrew said. “If it’s something that will take longer and not as critical, they’ll push it to level two. You’re always getting the best people first, and we back it all up with a 15-minute critical SLA. In reality, most issues are addressed in single-digit minutes by our team.”
Automation also makes for a streamlined support process. Andrew told us that Webscale automates most issue responses before a human gets involved.
“Our product is almost a level zero support agent in itself,” he said. “It’s able to make intelligent decisions about things that are happening within the infrastructure and make whatever changes are necessary to prevent any issues from impacting the uptime, performance, or security.”
Boost Visibility & Protect Your Brand’s Reputation
The case studies on the Webscale site speak to the ROI customers gain when working with Webscale. In one testimonial, Jesse Thomas, Ecommerce Group Manager and Web Developer at Skate One, describes how Webscale serves as an extension of his team.
The company, a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance skateboarding, was previously forced to gamble with resource allocation when putting out a new video or skateboard deck. With Webscale, those issues are no longer a concern.
“Jesse told us that he can now go on vacation and not worry about the phone ringing at 2 a.m.,” Andrew said. “For him, it’s about the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re in good hands. We’ve shown time and again that we have a willingness to go above and beyond when the situation warrants.”
Andrew told us that many of Webscale’s competitors offer little to no data on traffic and sources, which often hurts ecommerce businesses. Webscale, on the other hand, provides customers with real-time visibility into their infrastructure and customer experience data, all within a single pane of glass.
“Our customer portal is a merchant’s window into their world, and we track everything in there, from event logs to uptime, performance, and security data, plus insight into the user experience,” he said. “There’s nothing out there like it. Time and again, customers come back to us and say, “I’m now able to make much better decisions because I can see that 60% of my traffic is malicious bots that I shouldn’t be serving, yet I’m making decisions on my monthly website traffic based on this incorrect number.’”
Doubling Down on Security and Automation
As for what the future holds, the Webscale team plans to ramp up focus on security. The company added features like multifactor authentication, intrusion detection, anomaly detection, and a content security policy to its product in 2020 and plans to keep up the momentum.
“We’re already, I believe, the safest hosting provider out there for ecommerce, and we plan to take that even further in 2021,” Andrew said. “The Webscale Cloud Security Suite is deeply secure, and we’ll continue to focus on it moving forward.”
Webscale will also evolve its automation technology to help customers further process and understand traffic data.
“In the beginning, we had to figure out how to transform legacy ecommerce applications to work in the cloud,” Andrew said. “That meant moving to the world of DevOps and decentralized cloud proxies (which goes back to Jay’s original paper on how to handle the traffic coming through an application, cache it, improve performance, and boost security by removing single points of failure).”
From that point onward, Andrew said Webscale has focused on automation and monitoring — and will continue to focus on those areas in the future.
“With 3,000-plus customers, we are able to search trillions of requests a year to extract meaningful data and support billions of requests every day. Over Black Friday weekend alone, we blocked 300 million cyber threats because of the insight we have into our customers’ infrastructure,” he said. “So, we will continue to focus heavily on improving our visibility and security stack this coming year, while continuing to automate everywhere possible. The end goal is peace of mind for our customers, flawless shopping experiences for theirs.”