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Editor’s Choice – The Planet – Web Hosting Review / Interview

September 18
15:01 2008

“If you’re looking for rock solid uptime, reliable support, and affordable prices – look no further than The Planet.”

– FMH Editor

Company: The Planet
Founded: 1998
Employees: 200
Customers: 17,000
Data Centers: 2 (more being added soon)
Target Market: SME’s
More Information:  ThePlanet.com, Dedicated Marketplace, VPS Marketplace

The Planet began in 1998 with former management and technical professionals from giant NTT/Verio. Since 1998 The Planet has become one of the fastest growing Managed Hosting provider on the web, even rivaling competitor EV1.

Deloitte & Touche recently released a list of the fastest growing technology companies in Texas. The Planet placed third on the list with a growth rate of 6,611 percent over five years. In addition, The Planet claims to have been profitable since 2002, a real plus to Web Hosting consumers who are tired of finding a good home only to see it sold out to a bigger fish.

Peter Pathos, The Planet’s CEO and Founder, attributes the company’s success to a number of factors, including:

— Many of the failed hosting companies relied too heavily on the Internet Economy, whereas The Planet has catered more to mainstream business since its inception as NT Access in 1998.

— Pathos also says that today’s Internet is a much less “friendly” environment, susceptible to hackers, viruses and denial of service attacks and many organizations do not have the internal human and financial capital to ward off all the threats that a strong Web hosting company — with a much lower cost basis — can guard against.

— Successful Web hosting companies today are bundling services that can create real value for enterprises and providing expertise and economies of scale that can only be found in a single-source location such as The Planet.

Sparking the incredible growth in 2003 and now late in to 2004 have been affordable web server solutions under spin-off brands “Server Matrix” and “Insomnia 365”.

Web Host Report Card
7-point Testing System

1. Pre-Sales
There are a variety of contact methods you can use to contact The Planet.

– Live Chat took on average 30 seconds to receive a reply to our questions. Although, it was a bit hard to find a Sales Rep online after hours.

– Responses to our email queries were very quick indeed, averaging 10 minutes.

– Phone calls received instant responses, but like the Live Chat, speaking to someone after hours was a bit difficult at times.

Overall the experience was very positive. All sales agents were knowledgeable, polite, and quick to answer our questions.

GRADE: A-
What We Like: Fast response!
Needs Improvement: After hour’s sales rep availability.

2. Ordering Process
The Planet offers a very simple order process which allows the customer to build out a server and see the total price before ordering. This kind of flexibility allows the customer to pick all of the options they will require.

The scope of products and services offered is one of the best in the dedicated server marketplace. Customers can choose from a basic setup, or a setup that includes all the bells and whistles like backup, firewall, and load balancing.

In addition, if consumers have a question about the types of services offered on the order form, they can click on links for each service. The links provide detailed information about each service offered. Live chat is also available during the order process, ensuring no customer leaves without the info they require.

GRADE: A+
What We Like: Easy customization, Live chat to answer questions if needed.
Needs Improvement: N/A

3. Service Setup
How long did it take to be fully operational?
We ordered a basic Red Hat Enterprise server with Plesk Reloaded. We received our setup email within 4 hours after we placed our order. Our order was also confirmed by phone a few minutes after placing our order. The sales rep who called went over the specs and verified we were a legitimate order.

The setup email we received contained the basic information for accessing our server. Once we logged in to the ORBIT control portal to retrieve our password, we were on our way.

GRADE: A+
What We Like: Easy to understand setup email, Quick turnaround time.
Needs Improvement: N/A

Hosting quality
4. Website Uptime
FindMyHost has been hosted at The Planets main data center for a little less than a year and has never experienced any network or power outages.

In comparison, our last hosting provider had network outages on a monthly basis and at some points (during thunderstorms for example), completely lost power for several hours at a time.

GRADE: A+
What We Like: Redundant backbone connections, redundant power, security.
Needs Improvement: N/A

5. Data Center Overview
Two Class-A data center facilities. Full y-meshed data network consisting of backbone connections with leading communications providers such as AT&T, AboveNet, Broadwing, Global Crossing, Level3, nLayer, Sprint, Time Warner, UUNET, Verio, and Cogent.

Editors’ Note (notes taken during data center tour provided by The Planet):
With the addition of their second Dallas data center, The Planet now possesses two state-of-the-art enterprise level data centers.  The facilities have a combined 55,000 square feet of raised flooring, 38 redundant HVAC units for cooling, 8 500KVA UPS battery backup units for power interruptions, and 3 permanent diesel generators for long-term power outages.

GRADE: A+
What We Like: Security, Redundancy, Top-notch network administrators.
Needs Improvement: N/A

6. Network Infrastructure
The Planet’s network is driven by Juniper and Cisco components over a redundant architecture.  The Planet claims to deliver a 100% uptime guarantee with 17* multi-homed GigE (1000Mbps) backbone connections to the Internet through all the leading communications providers. The Planet also claims that their network costs and increased bandwidth commitments are extremely low due to existing network infrastructure and contract commitments.

*At the time of this article being published. The Planet is adding more on a monthly basis.

GRADE: A+
What We Like: No downtime.
Needs Improvement: N/A

7. Support
Overall, our experience with The Planets technical support staff has been excellent. Nearly all of our problems have been solved in an efficient manner. We opened a number of tickets for varying issues we had to test turnaround time. In most cases, issues were solved within 12 hours. Most tickets were answered within 3 hours.

In the event that our request required charged administration time, we were informed of the price beforehand.

Our only complaint is 1 instance where our ticket was closed before resolution.

GRADE: B+
What We Like: Expertise in a wide variety of subjects.
Needs Improvement: 1 ticket closed before issue was resolved.

Brief Interview
Julia Estes
Vice President, Business Development

What do you offer your customers that are unique to your company?
Our leading edge network and state-of-the-art facilities are certainly unique.

However, we don’t only provide space, power, access, support and hardware. We also provide an extensive offering of Managed Services. Many of our customers have complex business requirements. To address their concerns, we’ve built a team of technology consultants trained to assist in defining and addressing a variety of hosting considerations. We’ve tackled just about every possible technology challenge. Our team is available on an hourly basis, or our customers may sign up for our Managed Service packages on a per server basis. Our complete packages include server monitoring, management, security tools, formal reports, dedicated technicians and much more for a minimal price. The Planet has the most robust turnkey server management options in the industry. In addition to our Managed Service packages, we offer more in depth offerings such as Security Services, Database Administration and Data Storage & Management options as well. Dedicated technicians are available for UNIX, Linux, BSD, Windows, Oracle, and application development.

What new features has The Planet added for its customers in the past year?
ORBIT™, our customer portal developed by our internal development team based around the needs of our customers.

The Orbit Support Portal leads the marketplace for its ease of use and functionality.  Built for scalability and reliability, Orbit offers extensive technical resources to the customer and reduces overall support costs by dramatically reducing the amount of personnel needed to support our growing customer base.  Services available to our customers via Orbit include server monitoring, statistics, IP address management, administrative information, MRTG graphs for bandwidth utilization and a comprehensive knowledge base . With Orbit, our customers have unprecedented flexibility and ease of use with a powerful online server management tool. ORBIT™ is the most comprehensive customer portal in the industry with over 60 current features. We add new features each month. For a demo of ORBIT™, please go to https://orbit.theplanet.com/ and use “test” as the username and password.

About Author

MyHostNews.com

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