Managed hosting for any demand
Published 2016-09-27 by Jochen Lillich
Dublin, 27 September 2016 — freistil IT Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of three new product tiers for freistilbox, their managed hosting platform for Drupal and WordPress websites. With these new tiers, the Dublin-based IT services company expands its high-performance web hosting options to cater to any size of website, from small business to global brand.
Same power, less complexity
For more than six years now, freistil IT provides specialised web hosting services with the purpose of helping web development shops focus on their core business. It was both internal and customer feedback that led freistil IT to launch a simplified product lineup at DrupalCon, the biggest conference for Drupal users in Europe.
“While our previous ‘T-shirt sizes’ met most common demands, we encountered edge cases where we previously haven’t quite been able to offer an economic solution.”, explains Jochen Lillich, founder and managing director of freistil IT. “This was especially true at the ends of the spectrum where customers have either fairly low requirements or pretty high ones.” Now, customers can simply select one of three base setups depending on the type of their projects.
Capacity on demand
The new middle tier of freistilbox is based on a distributed hosting infrastructure that allows for both scalability and high availability. Named “freistilbox Pro”, this product is optimised for web developers who manage multiple projects. It is similar to the previous product line but drops the S-to-XL levels in favour of simple capacity upgrades.
Lillich comments the reasoning behind this change frankly: “I think that the T-shirt sizes created too much complexity on both sides, especially where customers used a ‘mix & match’ approach. We have users who grew their setup over time to something like ‘L+L+M+S’; on the other hand, a few of our customers might not even know they could do that. With freistilbox Pro, all customers start from the same base setup and simply add things like storage capacity or request processing units on demand. And since redundancy is now built in by default, there’s no need anymore for doubling a plan just to make the setup more reliable.”
Hosting at scale
A new high-end plan is geared towards business-critical websites with millions of visits per month. freistilbox Enterprise uses the same distributed software infrastructure as the Pro tier but runs it on dedicated physical servers and includes an enterprise-grade service level agreement.
“A lot of high-traffic websites such as the Rolling Stone Magazine or Doctors Without Borders depend on freistilbox to deliver their content reliably to a huge audience”, Lillich says. “In order to meet their growing demands, we often built custom setups like ‘3x XL plus dedicated database cluster’. And still we encountered occasional performance bottlenecks. With freistilbox Enterprise, we eliminate the risk of resource contention by providing customers with a fully dedicated IT infrastructure on physical servers. As a side effect, this isolation also has positive effects on security.”
What distinguishes freistilbox from the competition is that both the Pro and Enterprise tiers are not billed per website or by number of incoming requests. Customers are free to set up as many websites as they like, at no additional cost. Lillich regards this approach as the most economic for both sides: “We provide a managed hosting platform with a certain capacity. It’s completely up to the customer if they use their hosting power to run a single web application or if they share it between thirty websites.”
New solution for small projects
With the previous hosting plans, this argument fell apart when a customer actually had only a single website to run. Due to the high entry price, some customers looking for a simple but powerful hosting solution found freistilbox appealing from a technological perspective but simply not affordable.
“It may have taken us some time to respond to that particular demand but that’s exactly why we’re launching freistilbox Solo today”, Lillich admits with a smile. This hosting plan offers customers similar technology as its siblings but is limited to a single production website and 3 staging environments for development. At a monthly fee of 49€, it is priced at less than half of the former entry-level plan.
DevOps instead of tickets
The hosting infrastructure for all three plans is purpose-built for Drupal and WordPress. Each plan comes with all the services required by high-performance web applications, for example a Varnish content cache, SSL encryption, an Elasticsearch indexing engine and a Redis database for storing internal application state. The whole system is fully configured and managed by the freistilbox operations team.
“I don’t doubt that web developers have the skills to do their own hosting”, states Lillich. “But building amazing websites is hard when you spend your nights resolving server issues. Our managed hosting platform offers a better alternative: While we take care of all the operations aspects, our customers can work efficiently and sleep peacefully.”
Modern DevOps practices are central to how the freistilbox team works with their customers. Keeping the dreaded support ticket only as a last resort, the freistilbox team prefers a casual chat with their customers via services like Slack and Intercom. “I’m proud of how our distributed team culture reflects in our customer relationships”, says Lillich. “In modern IT we have left the dark ages behind us where development and operations worked in their separate silos and viewed the other as either an enemy of progress or a threat to uptime. We love to cooperate with our customers day by day, answering questions, resolving performance issues and recommending ways to get the most out of our hosting platform.”
Starting today, freistilbox Solo is available at a monthly fee of 49€, freistilbox Pro starts at 159€ per month, and freistilbox Enterprise has an entry price of 1800€. For details see www.freistilbox.com.
About freistil IT
Founded in 2010, freistil IT delivers high-performance web hosting solutions for leading open-source content management systems Drupal and WordPress. With their product freistilbox, the Dublin-based company provides customers with a fully managed, scalable and reliable hosting platform. A distributed team of web ops experts guarantees that business-critical websites hosted on freistilbox operate at optimum performance and availability.