Host Duplex Blog

2Jun/100

Outstanding Customer Service: An Absolute Necessity in Web Hosting

I recently had a run-in with a certain appliance company when they came into my condo to perform maintenance on a refrigerator.  I was appalled at how rude, discourteous, insulting and borderline racist the repairman was.  I won't go to into details what happened in the altercation, however swift action was taken.  While I was upset at what had happened, I was pleasantly surprised at the caliber of professionalism of the customer care staff.  They promptly offered multiple apologies and assured me of swift punishment for the said individual.    I'm actually still receiving emails and tweets with apologies from the company.

Within 30 minutes of sending the formal complaint via email, there were representatives immediately calling my direct line to offer apologies.  This kind of response is absolutely necessary in our industry.  Web hosting needs to have immediate response and readily available technicians at all times.  There is nothing more frustrating than having downtime or a problem and having no one to turn to.

Ever since our launch, we have always stressed excellent customer service.  Having great customer service isn't a hard task.  We keep our formula simple to make life for you guys easier.

1. Quick Response - We receive real time updates so the instant we receive a ticket, we are immediately at work to answer your questions.  If there is an issue, our philosophy is FCR, that is first contact resolution. We do our best to make sure the first response you receive is a resolution. Our executive staff receive live updates and are under the same protocols as our regular staff members. Many of our new customers have worked directly with our CEO to bring their websites over, we are always ready to work.

2. Courteous Professional Technicians - To work as a support staff, credentials aren't enough.  I don't care if your last name is the Michael Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Our staff has to be personable, friendly, and professional additional to being knowledgeable.  I cannot stand when I contact a company and their customer service representatives sound like they absolutely hate life, or when then they're outsourced and can't speak my language.

3. Updates - Should an issue arise, we will immediately begin updating our customers using not only via traditional methods including email and phone support, but also via social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

These 3 simple rules serve as the umbrella for the conduct and protocols of excellent customer service.  By keeping it simple, we eliminate any ambiguity on how our customers deserve to be treated.

27Apr/104

Truths and Lies about Web Hosting

There's been a very ugly trend in the web hosting industry as of late regarding 'unlimited' bandwidth plans.  Web hosting providers are advertising 'unlimited' bandwidth in order to seem like they can provide something they cannot.  This is simply an IMPOSSIBLE task.  When a customer then exceeds their cpu LIMIT as stated in the terms of service their service often gets suspended or even completely terminated (wait i thought you said it was unlimited?!).

The reason for the existence of these plans is that for the majority of websites who consume such a small amount of bandwidth, bandwidth seems unlimited because they don't have the capability to exceed.  If you're never exceeding and there's no problems, then the bandwidth does in fact seem unlimited.  However, websites that have high traffic, i.e. online retailers that have plenty of graphics and customers will be affected by high bandwidth.

Keeping it Simple

Disk Space: The space on the server you have to completely store your website

Bandwidth: Amount you have to transfer web pages from the servers to your browser (FF, IE, Safari, Google Chrome) etc. that the visitor is using.

Think of a car,  The entire car is the disk space.  Some cars can hold 2 people, some can hold 8.  The gas would be like the bandwidth.  What affects your bandwidth would be the things that affect gas mileage.  The more of those things you have on, the less mileage you get.  Now imagine, an automaker advertising that they are offering cars with unlimited gas tanks, and gas mileage is a non issue.  Sounds fishy doesn't it?  Now lets take the car for a drive with the Air Conditioning on until the gas runs out.  We now go to the automaker and complain, and they simply say that according to the terms of service, we weren't allowed to drive a certain distance anyway, so to remedy the situation, we have to buy a bigger car with a bigger gas tank.

OR, you exceeded your bandwidth so you now have to buy a bigger plan that allows more bandwidth and is much more costly because the webhoster lied that they could provide unlimited service.

Now What?

To avoid situations like these, simply estimate your bandwidth and choose the appropriate plan or our specialists can help you with this process.  You may have noticed that HD does not offer an unlimited plan.

22Apr/100

Our Dedication to Green: The Steps We Have Taken to Save the Planet

Happy Earth Day!!!

One thing that I've noticed with today's industry (and not just with web hosting) is that companies are trying their best to reduce if not neutralize their carbon footprint. In our industry, where data centers consume almost 5% of the all the worlds power, carbon reduction is of the utmost importance.

What companies are really doing is they are neutralizing their carbon footprint to offset their carbon emissions. They can do this through funding different green projects such as wind and solar energy, and by reducing their own carbon emissions through more responsible energy consumption

What are we doing?

1. Data Center: Our Data Center is now using more efficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning) systems.  An example of of one of the measures our data center has taken is that we are using water cooling to cool the servers, which in turn much cleaner and much more  efficient then traditional methods.

2.Virtualization: Virtualization technology has revolutionized the IT industry.  We have fully utilize virtualization for our own in-house purposes packages that efficiently utilize each of our servers.  We have also created VPS packages for our users.  If you do not need an entire server, why pay for one?  You're saving money, space, and power.  We offer Virtual Private Servers which are based on your needs,  segments an entire portion of a server.  You're usage and space is yours alone, and now you are using your space as monetarily and technologically efficient as possible.

3. Server Utilization:  Some web hosting companies may overlook utlization.  4 servers being used at 50% capacity still all use 100% power.  We use virtualization in our servers to maximize efficiency.  By using one server to process multiple virtual machines that handle different applications we can now maximize the space used while minimizing power consumed.  i.e. instead of using 8 servers (4 redundant pairs), we can use two servers using virtualization to efficiently maximize all the capabilities of each server.

4. LIGHTING:  I stress this because so many people overlook something as simple as efficient bulbs, and even simpler, turning lights off when not in use.  A couple measures we have taken are to use reduced wattage bulbs as well as LEDs.  We are also in the process of installing timers for the lights for facilities such as the restrooms and kitchens.  Another simple measure, is opening all the blinds during work hours.

5. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): Offsetting our carbon emission to create a greener planet and we are always trying to offset our carbon footprint.  One of ways to do this is through RECs.  These are  certificates fund different projects throughout the world to create renewable energy sources.  We are currently very interested in researching solar and wind energy.  The companies we have expressed creating partnerships with are among the top REC distributors following all EPA regulations and creating their renewable energy sources in sites that are as carbon neutral as possible.

13Apr/100

What is Redundancy and Why is it Important?

In the world of web hosting, there's plenty of terms that get used without companies providing adequate definitions.  I wanted to take some time and share a few words with you about Redundancy.

Redundancy is in layman's terms backup.  There are also several different types of redundancy: Network, Hardware, Power, and Geographic. A solid web hosting company will have multiple layers of Redundancy to ensure that your data is safe and to maximize your uptime.

Network Redundancy:

This backup is simply for the network a web hosting company uses to get you online.  Reliable proviers have multiple internet carriers that their servers use to ensure that your website never goes down.

Hardware Redundancy:

This backup is for the physical pieces of server hardware.   For instance one layer of redundancy is for the hard drives.  Here at Host Duplex, if a hard drive fails in our Dell PowerEdge servers, your site will not go offline, we have hot spares in place so our RAID arrays are immediately rebuilt.  We have a similar system for our sticks of RAM.

Power Redundancy:

These are the backups for the power that keeps your servers and data center running.  All of our servers have redundant power supply units.  Each PSU has a feed from a different utility company.  Each feed is also connected to it's own UPS (uninterrupted power supply) which hold 3 hours of battery backup should the data center lose power, which is also connected to diesel generators should a power outage last longer than 3 hours.  So if an entire feed fails, including the feed's UPS and generator, there is still a second feed from a separate electric provider with its own UPS and generator to keep your site online.

Geographic Redundancy

Finally there is geographic redundancy.  Host Duplex provides geographic redundancy services so that in the case of a complete datacenter failure, your site can be rerouted to a different datacenter.  I'm proud to say our data center is protected like Fort Knox and has enough redundancy to remain operational through natural disasters.  However, should the apocalypse take down our data center, Host Duplex offers services to have your site working non-stop in our Denver datacenter.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion or questions regarding Redundancy.  If you have further questions, feel free to comment, or shoot us an email directly.

8Apr/100

Host Duplex speaks at The University of Iowa Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory

Presenting at The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial CenterI'm very pleased to report that our presentation at the University of Iowa Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL) for student entrepreneurs went without a hitch.   My first reaction was that there was an excellent turnout, even though it was the Friday (April 2, 2010) before a holiday.  My second reaction was there was an abundance of Papa Johns Pizza!  A big thank you goes out to Lynn Allendorf of the John PappaJohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) not only for lunch, but also for the amazing opportunity to share our experiences and knowledge with upcoming entrepreneurs who came to the BELL

We held some very interesting conversations with Jordan Tivers of Collegeinformant.com, Iowa City business owner Mokotsi Rukundo of The CorNroC, Golf Database, Hawk City Productions LLC, SMARTERX, and others.  We were very excited to hear of their successes.  I am convinced that our success can help our fellow entrepreneurs in the future and am very excited to continue relations with the rest of the Bedell entrepreneurs.

This opportunity was a great one to not only educate the students on what to look for when searching for the appropriate web hosting company, but to also offer our web hosting services.  I was very pleased to hear the entrepreneurs were interested in our Virtual Dedicated Servers.  I am confident that this first step will lead to a long lasting relationship with the many generations of University of Iowa Bedell student entrepreneurs to come.