February 13, 2001, 3:05 PM — Aiming to meet the needs of businesses that want the control of dedicated servers, but without the cost, HostPro last week rolled out a Web-hosting product it says provides the best of both worlds.
HostPro Freedom is a variation of HostPro's virtual shared hosting offering. In shared hosting, many firms' Web sites are hosted from the same server. Virtual shared hosting gives companies more autonomy by giving each Web site its own IP address, limiting the impact of activity from other Web sites hosted on the same server.
HostPro executives say Freedom, based on Unix, goes a step further and completely frees companies on a shared server from the limitations of a shared environment. They say the HostPro technology lets each customer sharing a server 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 with dedicated server hosting.
"This is a good midrange product for companies that are not quite ready to move on to a more sophisticated product," 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 10 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.
Derek Alfonso, founder of eRealty. com, an online realtor, says HostPro lets him administer his Web site exactly as he wants. "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 a customer if that customer doesn't know what he's doing."
The pricing for Freedom ranges from $59.95 to $249.95 per month. All offerings include e-commerce software and a range of other preconfigured applications.