February 01, 2001, 9:54 AM — Aiming to meet the needs of small and midsize businesses that want the control that comes with dedicated servers, but without the cost, HostPro this week is rolling out a new Web hosting product that it says gives users the best of both worlds.
HostPro Freedom is a variation of HostPro's virtual shared hosting offering. In shared hosting, many companies' Web sites are hosted from the same server. Virtual shared hosting gives companies a bit more autonomy by giving each Web site its own IP address, limiting the impact that activity at Web sites hosted on the same server can have on each other.
HostPro executives say Freedom, based on the UNIX platform, goes a step further and completely frees companies on a shared server from the limitations of a shared environment. They say the technology HostPro offers allows each customer sharing a server to have its own operating system, meaning the customer can add or remove applications, make changes to system files, issue passwords and define access rights -- the same flexibility typically found only with dedicated server hosting.
Shared hosting is about a tenth of the cost of dedicated hosting, but with the cost savings come limits on access, flexibility and control. Freedom, says HostPro execs, provides that access, flexibility and control, without the big investment.
"This is a good midrange solution for companies that are not quite ready to move on to a more sophisticated solution yet," says Helen Chan, an analyst with the Yankee Group. "This is a good migration pattern for them to move up that curve without necessarily spending ten times more than what they're used to spending each month."
Chan says it's the first Web hosting service she's seen that gives shared server users such extensive control over their environments.
Derek Alfonso, founder of eRealty.com, an online realtor, says HostPro has given him the ability to administer his Web site exactly as he wants to. "I have more power, without more cost, than I thought possible."
Chan says Freedom gives HostPro a competitive edge, but notes it's geared toward HostPro's typical customer base, which includes Web developers, value-added-resellers and other technically sophisticated users. "If you were a small business, Mom-and-Pop-shop, you wouldn't know what to do with this full root access capability," Chan says. "And it can really wreak havoc for that customer if that customer doesn't know what it's doing."
The pricing for Freedom ranges from $59.95 per month to $249.95 per month. All offerings include e-commerce software and a range of other pre-configured applications.