FindMyHost Interviews Michael Phillips, Director of Communications at DiscountASP.NET
Please tell us the year established and brief history of DiscountASP.NET?
DiscountASP.NET was established in 2002 and opened for business in early 2003. It was founded by two people who got started in the hosting business in the early 90s, when it was in its infancy; Frank Cheung and Takeshi Eto. The focus was on ASP.NET technology from day one.
What do you offer your customers that are unique to your company?
Our focus on the Microsoft hosting and development stack, a close relationship with people who matter at Microsoft, our own independent research and development, and a custom Control Panel that allows us to offer new technology and features to our users long before hosts who use commercial control panels can.
What is the most challenging aspect to offering windows web hosting?
“Creating knowledge” around the products.
What I mean by that is you could wake up tomorrow and start a new *nix hosting company and copy a 5 or 10 year old Knowledge Base from someone and be good to go.
But every time Microsoft introduces a new technology or updates an existing technology there is research and testing to be done, blog and knowledge base articles to write, front-line staff to train.
Things change far, far more frequently than they do on the other side of the hosting tracks. But we love digging in to this stuff, so it’s easy for us.
What is it that makes DiscountASP.NET a competitive company in the Web Hosting market?
Our reputation as a leader. We don’t try to compete on price, we compete by offering greater value. There will always be users who shop for hosting based on price. We’re here for people who choose based on quality.
What new features have DiscountASP.NET added for its customers in the past year?
That’s quite a list, but I think the most important thing we did this year was to become charter members of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2coalition.com). The Internet Infrastructure Coalition provides a public policy voice for those of us who make up the Internet’s infrastructure. They lobby and educate our representatives in Washington so we can prevent/avoid future potential catastrophes like SOPA/PIPA.
More specifically to Windows hosting, we joined the Microsoft Visual Studio Industry Partner Program and renewed our Microsoft Gold Hosting Competency Status. Where specific technology is concerned, we launched TFS 2012, Managed TFS Hosting, TFS Proxy (free), Windows Server 2012, node.js, Silverlight 5, Web Deploy 2.0, user.ini (Windows version of php.ini), along with free beta hosting for Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, ASP.NET 4.5 and Web Matrix v2 though our DiscountASP.NET Labs program (labs.discountasp.net).
We also introduced a new blog series, The Art of Hosting, wherein we strive to give away all of our secrets. If that sounds odd, it is. The hosting industry is traditionally very tight-lipped about the specific ways we do things. It’s a competitive thing. But our philosophy is to tell everyone exactly how and why we do things.
We believe that kind of information will help hosts that are just getting started, and challenge our direct competitors to be more open. We’re confident in our abilities, so we don’t see exposing our inner workings as detrimental. It’s more like, “Here’s how we do it – you can try it yourself, but you still won’t do it as well as we do.” That sounds cocky! But we’re not cocky, we’re simply confident in our abilities.
What would you say is DiscountASP.NET #1 asset to its customer base?
Experience and expertise. That’s two things, I know, but they’re intertwined.
Where do you see DiscountASP.NET and the web hosting industry in three years?
I can’t say where DiscountASP.NET will be in three years without spilling the beans about a project that we’ve been working on behind the scenes for some time now. Suffice it to say we are preparing to expand to new territory with something that application developers are going to be very happy to see.
As for the web hosting in general, it seems to be shrinking as the giant host-gobblers continue to do everything they can to acquire every host on earth. There was a time when there were a dozen sizable hosts in Los Angeles, but now there are only a small handful. That sort of consolidation never benefits the consumer, but it does give independent hosts such as ourselves an advantage in the marketplace. We can offer a leaner, meaner service than any of the mega-hosting (or should I say investment) companies can. It””s just scale. It isn’t possible to adequately support 3 or 5 or 10 million hosting customers without making most of them feel like they’ve been had. And they have been had.
How many customers do you currently have?
Around 35,000 at DiscountASP.NET.
Who are some of your famous clients?
Our policy is not to talk about who our users are unless we get their approval first, so I can’t really name names. We host sites for some high-profile individuals and companies, but our largest and busiest sites are mainly e-commerce sites that you probably wouldn’t recognize even if we told you who they were. There’s a ton of business being done out there by what appear on the surface to be low-profile sites. It’s astounding really, the amount of traffic some of these sites see.
Do you own your own datacenter?
We do not. We run out of two data centers; one in Irvine California and one in London.
Do you have multiple backbone connections?
We have two separate backbone connections in Irvine, through Savvis and Internap. In London we use Equinix.
Do you offer 24/7 support?
Do you have technicians present 24/7 or 9-5 M-F?
We have level 2 support and system administrators present 24/7.
What is your average turn-around time on a support ticket?
We have brought it down to less than an hour. Off-peak it can take a bit longer, but the average overall is less than an hour.
Do you charge your clients for support? If so, please explain.
We do not.
Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes, for 30 days from account sign-up.
Thank you for your time and insight into DiscountASP.NET.