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Dedicated Web Hosting Round Up - Part 3

2005-12-14 by

AIT

EV1Servers
AIT
Aplus.Net
Virtuoso Net Solutions, Inc.

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1. About AIT

AIT supports more than 190,000 domains in 107 countries and is the only hosting company listed on both the Inc 500 and Deloitte & Touche Fast 500. AIT is headquartered in a 93,000 square foot data and service center, with a secondary 5,500 sq ft NOC. Serving primarily the SMB market, AIT offers a variety of hosting plans, augmented by a turnkey e-commerce suite, IP telephony, application hosting, technical training, an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar and an ISP.

Founded in 1996, AIT has always offered dedicated plans though there have been significant options added to those since the company’s inception. AIT currently offers self-managed and fully-managed versions, reseller-oriented and end-user options, and offers Ensim and Plesk along with the company’s proprietary control panel software.

2. The major features of the dedicated server packages available from the company

AIT’s greatest strength is in options, from the standpoint of both business operations and user functionality. By that I mean the packages fall under one of three primary groupings: ping, power, and pipe as seen in the self-managed plans; a desire for automation, as evidenced by packages that include Ensim or Plesk; and, the customer who wants full server management, the less tech-oriented user.

From an F&B standpoint, the disk space and bandwidth allotments are unsurpassed, users get an unlimited number of e-mail accounts, AIT provides a lengthy list of technical, marketing, and security tools, and each server can be customized for factors like OS, additional disk space or bandwidth, and databases.

In addition, everything can be white-labeled which is critical for resellers. Even the products/services that are standard with their hosting plan can be re-sold to their customers and we have seen hundreds of resellers have success that way. Each dedicated plan allows for unlimited multiple domains as well as multiple IP addresses.

3. The dedicated server offering

Flexibility, in terms of configuring their server and in determining the features that are critical to their operations and those that are superfluous. The company provides substantial resources for customers to work with, and provide 24/7 tech and admin support in case there are questions.

They have also spent the past couple of years in serious R&D mode, introducing a lengthy series of additional products to help our customers’ businesses grow, improve, and profit. These developments run the gamut, from a content manager and site-builder to security features like server firewalls, port scans, intrusion detection, and encrypted mail to private label tech support and VoIP.

4. Dedicated Server Plan

Dedicated Web Hosting Plan Name – Reseller 3 / fully managed
Quick Features 
ProcessorP4
HD80GB
Data Transfer (please set more info if you need)Unlimited
RAM256/512
Service 
Server Administration (please explain – for example if included in the plan, or is based on hourly payment)24/7 support is included with this plan as it is fully-managed. Other dedicated options include self-managed servers in which support can be bought on a per-incident or monthly basis
Free upgrades availableYes
Server Setup Time1 hour
Network Uptime SLA99.99%
Content RestrictionsNo adult material or spamming
Domains 
Domains Supported (number or explain)Unlimited; as many as can be accommodated within the confines of the 80GB of space, and there is NO per domain fee. The $129.95 / mo is the only charge.
Security 
Firewall system (please explain – if optional please describe)PIX
VPN ServiceYes
Denial of Service Attack MitigationYes
Vulnerability Assessment ServicesYes
Additional Features 
Control PanelSMT 4.1 for customer; Virtual SMT for customer’s customers
E-commerceFree shopping cart; compatible merchant account and transaction gateway sold separately.
DatabaseMS SQL or Access for Windows hosting; MySQL w/ DB Manager for Linux solutions
Marketing Tools (Free with the plan, or priced, please explain if available)A mix of free & priced to include email marketing, newsletter manager, Auction, PPC tools, SE submission, and referral software
Mail ServerExchange
Application Installment (please provide more info) 
Support 
Toll-Free Phone SupportYes
24/7/365 Support Ticket SystemYes
24/7/365 Server MonitoringYes
Pricing 
Price$129.95 / mo
Discounts (please explain)5% with 6-month pre-pay; 10% off with 12-month pre-pay
Money-back Guarantee30-days totally risk-free

5. The most advanced features

They’ve worked to strike a fair medium between fully-managed and self-managed customers. The fully-managed solution includes the latest in security features: anti-spam and anti-virus protection, intrusion detection at the router and network levels, port monitoring, and a scan service.

AIT has also upgraded its control panel, introduced a content management system that ties in with a website template store for complete site building utility, private label technical support, a virtual domain registrar, and an upgraded shopping cart.

In particular, the shopping cart – Mcart 2005 – and the CRM service standout in addressing two critical needs of customers: enhanced abilities to participate in e-commerce through not only selling products but also in gathering data that allows them to analyze consumer behavior; and support, especially where resellers are concerned.

For the self-managed user, AIT recently introduced the Plesk automation software and also carries the latest versions of Ensim. The company has developed server-specific firewalls, above and beyond the protections afforded at the network level. Plus, there are support packages available for this type customer on a per-incident monthly subscription basis.

6. Message from the company

Hosting is a service business and AIT takes the job of customer service very seriously. The company would not have been able to build a ten-year track record of growth, profitability, and stability without that mind-set. In addition, AIT has been where many of our customers currently are. This was a garage operation in the early days, with people juggling multiple responsibilities and becoming very intimate with the issues that drive customers and contribute to client satisfaction.

Despite AIT’s growth, the company ethos has not deviated from that attention to customer needs and wants. New product introduction is dictated by a sense of what will help our clients make money and/or save time. That’s where realizing that hosting is a service industry is really important.

It is easy to get caught up in the technology, to look at yourself as a high-tech company, but most firms in this space don’t build next-generation processors or office applications or devices. We provide the expertise that makes all the preceding work and play well together. Ultimately, a hosting company is measured by its customers’ success. Ten years of growth and nearly 200,000 domains hosted can’t be wrong.

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EV1Servers
AIT
Aplus.Net
Virtuoso Net Solutions, Inc.

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