InMotion Hosting

The Official InMotion Hosting Blog

Team Member Profile: Ali Jones

Hometown: Hampton, VA
Position: Technical Support Manager
InMotion Hosting team member since April 2009

Ali Jones - InMotion HostingHow did you get started in the web hosting field?
I entered the field as a Tier 1 Technician in 2005 while living in North Carolina. My duties at the time included providing support to both Windows and Linux web hosting customers. Within a year I was promoted to Shift Manager and was responsible for supervising Tier 1 Support, Tier 2 Support and Systems Administrators.

What’s your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
My current role is Support Manager. My favorite part of the job is being part of a team that strives to make a difference for our customers. Most people have had a bad customer service experience at some point in their life and have come to dread contacting technical support at any company. Our goal is to change their mind about how they perceive tech support and ensure that they are blown away when they contact us.

We work hard to show them that we are a company that takes an active interest in their success. I love hearing from customers that are excited about how the Support team was able to far exceed their expectations because it’s a testament to the expertise, professionalism and dedication of our employees.

Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about?
I’ve been keeping up with news on the Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality headset in development. VR has been something that was attempted in the past, but I think that the technology finally exists to do it properly. Since Facebook recently acquired the company, it will likely mean that VR applications will be used for more than just gaming.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I’m always willing to help!

What’s one word that would describe your personality?
Analytical

InMotion Hosting’s Core Principle

InMotion Hosting Thrills Customers

InMotion Hosting was founded on a simple principle – treat your customer how you expect to be treated. Our founders were already experts in Web Hosting, and they knew there was a large market of people looking for a reliable host who cared about their success.

This focus on the customer was the foundation of our culture as we grew. But, maintaining a consistent customer-focused culture while growing rapidly required a great deal of discipline and innovation. Various methods were employed over the years to live up to our founding principles, including the formulation of our company mantra in 2010. That was followed by immersion of the Mantra into all aspects of the business from hiring and training to everyday protocols, continuing education, and even bonus structures.

But, was that enough? In short, no. In reality, there is never an end to the task of improving your customer’s experience. As our expansive growth continued, we learned an extremely valuable lesson: Hiring and training individuals to truly care about the customer and strive to THRILL the customer is only half of the equation. You also need the ability to verify if all of those good intentions are being realized in practice and to implement changes wherever we fall short of our goals. Our solution was to create a Customer Experience Team .

In the Fall of 2012, the Customer Experience Team was born. The sole purpose of this department is to be the customer advocate, responsible for analyzing, identifying, and driving ongoing improvements to the customer experience across ALL customer touch points. I am honored to manage this team, extremely appreciative that our goals and values come directly from the founders, and proud of the accomplishments to date from this department.

A couple examples of recent enhancements include:

  • The Sales Confirmations Team has been transformed into the Onboarding Team. Instead of simply confirming the accuracy and validity of a new order, the New Account Specialists now have the goal of “Setting the Customer up for Success”, to include tasks such as:
    • Welcoming new customers on board.
    • Identifying and answering questions regarding the customer’s goals and needs.
    • Providing direction and help documentation directly related to those goals and needs.
    • Initiating conversations on important aspects yet to be considered by the customer.
    • Installing or triggering installation of certain software as requested by the customer.
  • A new and improved Account Management Panel (AMP).
    We recently launched major enhancements to our Account Management Panel, with a major focus on improving usability for top customer journeys. Some key enhancements included:
    • Updating the look, feel, flow, and consistency of AMP, with focus on ease of use.
    • Reducing the number of clicks to reach the top customer journeys.
    • Creating visibility for the customer to proactively maintain contact and billing information.
    • Increasing integration between AMP, cPanel, our Support Center.

Our Customer Experience Team’s Promise to You

We will put ourselves in your shoes all day, everyday. Your pains are our pains, and your happiness is our goal. We will continue to strive to THRILL you every single day.

Tim Evans
Customer Experience Manager

Team Member Profile: Christopher Fenning

Hometown: Combe Martin, Devon, England.
Position: Project Manager
InMotion Hosting team member since May 2013

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
Aside from some programming classes at school my first real exposure to web hosting came from my dad. He started his own business based around online retail and I watched through the early 2000s as he adapted to changes in technology for websites and web hosting.

ChristopherFenning

Throughout university I started to dabble with website design and ended up working on a few sites for myself and friends. That naturally led to me becoming a reseller, although on a tiny scale, and as the traffic on my websites grew I was forced to learn more about the hosting side of things.

The real plunge into hosting came when I joined InMotion Hosting to set up a Project Management Office for the company. There is nothing quite like taking on new product deliveries or large scale system changes to encourage rapid learning about hosting environments!

What’s your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
My main role is project management, helping the larger scale pieces of work to be delivered on time and to spec. The projects can be anything from defining and delivering a new product to replacing core systems such as the chat system.

Training and mentoring staff in Project Management is an important part of the role and is something that brings me great satisfaction. It helps the company grow as more people become able to take on the challenge of delivering large pieces of work. The best parts of the job are the variety of work to be done and being able to work across all the teams in the company. There is such a diversity of people and roles here, it is great to be able to be a part of that.

Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about?
In a previous job my role was to manage the customization of cellphones for a major network in Europe. This meant I always has the newest phones before they were released to market. The most unique was a 3D phone from LG, launched around the same time as 3D films were coming out at the movies. The phone took both 3D pictures and video and even the games were in 3D. At the time it was pretty cool to have that level of tech in such a small package.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
Firstly I should say I am not from around here. Prior to 2012 I lived in England and worked mostly in Europe and occasionally in Asia. My wife and I moved to Virginia after she was offered a Job and without that I’d never have found InMotion Hosting. We are both very active and love being outdoors. The mountains are our biggest love with climbing, mountaineering, hiking and skiing being high on our list of regular activities. Most weekends, if I’m not catching up on the week’s activity in my UK based sports equipment business I can be found either in the hills or in the sea, and very occasionally I may be spotted at a craft beer or wine festival.

What’s one word that would describe your personality?
English

 

Team Member Profile: John Quan – Marketing

Team Member Profile - John QuanHometown: San Gabriel, CA.
Position: Marketing Program Manager
InMotion Hosting team member since December 2009

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
Before I joined InMotion Hosting, I was a freelance web designer and would host my clients’ websites. Here I was mostly dealing with managing domains and setting up emails.

When I joined InMotion Hosting as part of the Web Design team, my primary role was answering phone calls and replying to support tickets. This means I would help clients with questions related to hosting – some of which I had never heard of before. This is where I got my first exposure into what web hosting really was – restoring databases, monitoring usage, running backups, etc.

What’s your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
I’m currently a Program Marketing Manager. For some detail, I would say this role is a blend of traditional marketing, product management/development, ux, web design and customer service.

What I enjoy most about this role is that I get to do different types of work on a daily basis. One day I could be brainstorming a new email campaign; on another I could be designing a landing page.

Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about?
I think the coolest gadget I’ve read about is the Oculus Rift. This is a virtual reality headset that from initial reviews, looks to be a game changer and will take gaming to a whole new level.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
One of my favorite hobbies is photography. I picked this hobby up about 8 years ago when I got my first digital camera. From there I upgraded cameras, got new lenses, and have been an enthusiast ever since. Some of my favorite types of photos include landscapes, candids, and night photography.

Here’s one of my favorite shots from the past year:
Sunset Flower

I’m also a big fan of being outdoors. I really enjoy hiking and cycling as they allow me to be outside white at the same burn some calories. One of my hiking goals this year includes day hiking Mt. Whitney.

What’s one word that would describe your personality?
Easy going.

SPYR MEDIA: Affiliate Marketing for the Rest of Us

SPYRavatar

First, a disclaimer: We are not affiliate marketers. At least not in the traditional sense.

According to nearly every article on affiliate marketing, achieving success is a complicated, cut-throat endeavor requiring loads of time and training and writing and list/link building and advertising and researching and reputation building and gaming and social media-ing, and… well, the list goes on and on.

For many this actually sounds like an endless source of fun and adventure. For us this sounds like an endless source of misery. Fortunately, there’s always another way.

Now, affiliate marketing has never been a big focus for SPYR Media. Hell, aside from posting stupid pictures of ourselves on social media we give zero attention to marketing and just do the work (all of our leads come via word of mouth). However, despite the lack of emphasis we place upon marketing, affiliate marketing has become a pretty significant revenue stream in the past few years.

Of course, we all know the big internet names rake it in through affiliate programs. They have the audience, the traffic and, most importantly, the influence that garners top commission rates to match their performance. Good for them. They did the work and deserve every bit of it.

But, we’re not all big names nor do we all aspire to be. Some of us are more effective in a behind-the-scenes capacity. We’re facilitators. So, why not facilitate?

No matter how well an income stream is performing, an improvement is always welcomed. If you can facilitate that refinement, you can then create a mutually beneficial relationship where everyone wins.

Facilitation is precisely the approach we’ve taken with affiliate marketing. We don’t want to become content producers or marketers. We aren’t interested in building lists and writing copy or, for that matter, selling in general. We’re a creative agency and let our work speak for itself relying on the, ever powerful, word of mouth to handle the rest.

Rather than approaching affiliate marketing as a new ‘job’, we instead looked at what value we could already bring to the table, who would most benefit from our input and skills, and reached out to a chosen few who we knew would experience the biggest returns. As a design company, we impact perception through imagery and product development and knew this would be a valuable compliment to the efforts of our marketing and blogging colleagues.

So we turned to others in our circles – past clients, friends, etc – who have the established audience and influence that we lack and teamed up to create mutually beneficial scenarios where we better position their publicly facing affiliate promotions, negotiate commission structures for them (they’re completely hands off) and take a small cut through tiered affiliate programs. Basically, we’re earning money by helping other, more popular people earn money.

The point is, use the tools you currently have to fill in the gaps for others. If we believed the only way to succeed in affiliate marketing was to be great content producers with a giant list we would have never started. Be creative, help others succeed and everyone involved can reap the rewards.

LA Holiday Event 2013

la_holiday_2013This year for our holiday party, we had an amazing and festive time with good people at The Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey. We had a Christmas boat parade, St. Jude’s Toy Drive, buffet, sweet treats, and a photo booth that everyone, including our CEOs, got to let loose and be silly in. Check out some of the fun we had in our Facebook photo album.

Top Open Source Applications

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PrestaShop

PrestaShop is one of the fastest growing e-commerce solutions in the market. Prestashop is incredibly user friendly and has a great interface that makes it much easier to setup and manage than some of the traditional platforms like Opencart. With support and technical help available from all regions of the world, PrestaShop has quickly gained a reputation as an all in one e-commerce provider.

Joomla!

The most unique aspect of the Joomla CMS is the way in which the organization is structured. The Joomla! Project takes into account everyone’s feedback and tries to develop Joomla with all the users/developers in mind. Therefore, virtually anyone can become an integral part of the project by just contributing. Whether it’s code, sponsorships, or helping out in forums, you become a true community member from the first day you join. With most of the other CMS platforms, there is usually a straight hierarchy or a chain of command where decisions are made on what features/components/versions to develop next. With Joomla!, that is decided upon by all the users and developers involved. This can make processes a bit longer to complete, but it ensures that everyone’s feedback is taken into account. From an end user perspective, there is definitely a higher learning curve with Joomla! than say WordPress, but the people who are devoted fans say it is the best out there.

WordPress

You may be surprised that the many of the websites that you see on the internet actually use WordPress.  Originally intended as a blogging platform, WordPress has extended its functional reach through continual development and thousands of plugins – many of which are free.  These plugins allow the application to handle website needs such as image galleries, ecommerce shops, and forms – to list a few.  It is often classified as a CMS (Content Management System) because of its flexible nature. Add to this the many thousands of themes that allow you to quickly change its appearance and it’s easy to understand why WordPress is the most used open source application on the internet.  WordPress is easy to use and there are many avenues of support including many tutorials in the InMotion Hosting Support Center. Check out WordPress and you’ll find out why it is the top solution for your website building needs.

Drupal

Drupal is one of the most popular content management systems online. Drupal is the oldest of the Big 3 (WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal), being established in 2001. It is an open source application that is built upon PHP and MySQL. Drupal was conceived as an enterprise system and powers websites like Whitehouse.gov. Drupal has several advantages that make it a power player in the CMS community. It is extremely flexible and can build anything from a small blog to an enterprise level site supporting millions of users. It was built to be search engine friendly from the very start. The Drupal software is very stable and can serve thousands of users at the same time. It is also very developer-friendly, and developers can easily create their own modules and custom solutions.

Eastern PA Weather Authority: A Managed Hosting Case Study

If you’re looking for a professional hosting service that manages your web hosting servers, you don’t have to look further than our Managed Hosting team for a dedicated Managed Hosting Service. Our hosting spotlight is focused on the Eastern Pennsylvania Weather Authority (EPAWA) website. The EPAWA website is a great example of the capabilities and reliability of our dedicated hosting solution.

The EPAWA website is a growing website that provides daily forecasts, interactive radar, and analytical models for weather in the eastern portion of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Recent increases in their population of viewers have led to challenges to the dedicated hosting team. This has resulted in an evaluation and scaling up of the service provided by the InMotion Hosting Managed Hosting team. The success of the EPAWA website shows the attention to detail and flexibility of the InMotion Hosting Managed Hosting service.

EPAWA Website

Sidebar of the EPAWA website Top of the content in page middle Header of the EPAWA website

The Custom Managed Hosting Solution

Like all of the websites under their management, the Managed Hosting team continually monitors the EPAWA website to keep the server operating optimally. Our Elite Class Dedicated Servers are set up so that downtime is kept to a minimum while providing quality performance for their website. In order to do this, they use various software and hardware configurations.

For EPAWA, we used the following tools to ensure proper website performance.

Varnish Caching

Varnish Cache (also known as caching HTTP reverse proxy) is a web application accelerator designed to optimize HTTP requests. Varnish is installed on the front end of the server to cache the Website contents. The performance of Varnish Cache is exceptional. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 – 1000x, depending on your architecture bringing the server load down.

Apache DSO and mod_ruid

Apache DSO (Dynamic Shared Objects) is a PHP handler that speeds up the server using opcode caches. The Apache module mod_ruid2 is a suexec module for Apache that causes forked Apache processes to be run as a particular user. This allows for PHP to be run in DSO mode without the typical security problems of running PHP as DSO in an environment shared by multiple users.

Alternative PHP Cache (APC)

The PHP PECL module APC is Alternative PHP Cache. This allows the interpretation of PHP scripts to cache opcode. The module can cache objects like database objects and full page views. PHP code is processed faster with APC which leads to better website performance.

Elite Class Server for Website

The website is set up on a Elite Class dedicated server. The server is carefully optimized to provided maximum performance.

  • Intel Xeon X3440 @2.53Ghz
  • 4-Cores/8-Threads
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 500GB 7.2K SATA2
  • RAID-1

Managed Dedicated Hosting

The installation of the server is completed by our Managed Hosting technicians. Our Managed Hosting support team is capable of providing complete solutions, even when there problematic issues such as high traffic requirements or server-side situations. Each server can have different levels of support as per the needs of the customer. Thousands of customers in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware rely on the information provided by the EPAWA website and you should too! Try out and learn more about our Managed Hosting service.

Keep Your Business Strong with Effective Communication

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The majority of our customers at InMotion Hosting are small companies or startups with a strong vision and desire to build a solid foundation to grow their business on. Like many of our customers, InMotion Hosting started off small and worked its way up to be the successful company it is today. What every company should try to keep in mind is how they first started off and what specifically accelerated their initial growth spurt. What’s most amazing about a lot of startups is how quickly they are able to get things done, how well they stay focused, and how they maintain the passion and motivation that drive it all. That is the envy of most major companies today.

When you start off small, you have some great advantages. Communication is easier and tasks are done more effectively and efficiently because there are less people to reach out to or wait on. Keeping this process strong is the hardest part when a company begins to grow. Waiting on people seems to be the biggest obstacle when communication isn’t fully there. Being aware of this and making sure you have a good system in place for getting things done, no matter how big your company becomes, will save you a lot of time and headache, and make a world of difference.

With our team still growing, we’ve had to try to adjust and figure out the best way to manage our projects. At first, we had hit some obstacles that we had to overcome with trial and error. Then we looked back at old processes and tried new ones instead. Finally we realized that using different channels to reiterate the same things can get confusing and messy. You want to go along with what your team feels more comfortable using, instead of using just one solution for the sake of simplifying. When processes begin to become a struggle, reassess them and find out why; Find a different solution. Don’t keep doing something because that’s how it was done before.

Use a Project Management Tool

We’ve come to rely on Basecamp as a project management tool to assign projects, refer to message threads, check out the project calendar, and add people to projects or reassign them. It helps to visually see what’s going on, what’s been done, and what still needs to get done. Being able to easily reference interactions among everyone within a team makes a tool like Basecamp a great resource.

Daily Stand-Up Meetings

Another good way of keeping the communication strong and everyone in the loop are daily stand-up meetings. Everyone literally stands up and moves away from their desks. The benefit of this is that it allows for participation from all team members and frees them from distraction.  You can customize these to your liking of how often you’d like to do them, and which departments you want to include.

For our marketing team, every morning everyone stands up and tells the team what they’ve been working on, what they plan to work on, and if they have any obstacles that someone else within the team can help out with. This way, everyone is aware of what’s going on and it keeps all the processes clear. If you have multiple teams within a team, a representative from each team informs the group as to what’s going on. The total amount of time of the meeting should be limited to about 15 minutes.  If more meetings are needed to discuss specific projects, then these can be arranged during the stand-up meeting and taken away from the group.

Face-to-Face Conversations

And don’t ever forget about the good ol’ face to face interactions. It’s great for team building and a lot of small things won’t fall through the cracks as they often do in communicating through technology channels. It can also save a lot of time when you’re waiting on responses and going through a bunch of email threads. If you need to have a record of what was discussed in a conversation, write one quick email to reiterate what was just said and use that as your reference.

This type of communication may lead to more interruptions, so you need to be approachable and open to face-to-face conversation. However, these interruptions are worth it since you don’t have to deal with going back and spending more time clarifying an issue again. You can always block out time and find a quiet space in the office to be interruption free and stay focused once a week or for a few hours in the day if you do begin to get interrupted too frequently. In the end, you will save a lot of time and everything will be crystal clear.

Smooth and clear communication has to be a priority of the company and it has to be optimized to keep it going strong, no matter how quickly or big your business grows.

Premier Support™ Customer Testimonial

Written by Voitek Klimczyk of Hartford, CT. Currently hosting on a VPS.

I’m a former IT guy who has been publishing websites since 2004. When my website was small, hosting didn’t matter that much. But once I started to grow my business, I started to notice more and more, that where you host your website really matters, because you don’t want customers to visit your site and all they get is an error or loading page.

InMotion Hosting is the most reliable web host that I have used since 2004 – and I’ve tried several of the popular ones out there. Most of them had horrible support, that almost always blamed outages on me and they were also slow to load my site.

InMotion Hosting was the first web host to not only help me troubleshoot problems, but sometimes even proactively take care of problems for me; like the time hackers used denial-of-service (DoS) attacks against of one of my sites. Another leg up InMotion Hosting has on the competition is the actual page speed of your website. Nothing compares to their Shared Hosting as far as reliability and speed goes from what I personally tried.

Since my business grew, I was seamlessly moved to their VPS solution, which is extremely reliable and fast. Seamless becomes a bigger deal, once your website grows to the point that you need it up all the time to maximize business profits. I’ve had other hosts put my site on the back burner and extremely slow servers, while I lost business and profits from people who didn’t want to wait 10 seconds for the page to load.

It’s the reliability, professional support, and page loading speed that has kept me a customer far past the introductory deal.

By the way, another thing that I really like is that when I call support, I get to speak with someone that actually understands what’s happening, instead of non IT people trying to help you by reading from a script. I tried top rated hosts and top advertised hosts out there, but in reality none of them came close to the up-time, speed, and expertise that I have grown accustomed to from InMotion Hosting. Trust me, that means a lot coming from someone who worked in IT for a long time.

Voitek Klimczyk
Hartford, CT
www.simplyadditions.com