EDIT (15/03/11): Apparently the message sent out by WrzHost was by an ‘ex-employee’ and WrzHost did not close down. Please take that into account when reading this blog post. Thanks.
Merry Christmas (belated) and Happy New Year to all of you! If you still follow my blog once in a while, thank you! As usual, I have been busy out of the internet and I just only got the time to blog. Well, I just received an e-mail from a certain hosting company I used to be with but I will go into that shortly. Over the past couple of months since I closed Aerosol Hosting, I have been consistently bugged by the same questions: “WHY?” “HOW MUCH?” “WHO?” So I thought it would be easier for me to put everything down on this blog article and push this interesting phase of my life aside.
Where do I start? Okay. Around the end of 2008 (or beginning of 2009), I was encouraged by my friend, who just so happens to share the same birthday as me, Homen Yu, to purchase a master reseller hosting service from a ‘runaway company’ called RDAHosting. I lost approximately USD$12 if I am not wrong? I used this hosting service to host my friends (both online and offline) for free and some for a price. The thought of expanding to a proper hosting company was never in my mind and it was in fact because of this, that I used a nulled WHMCS script as well! Anyways, since they decided to take off and leave their datacentre to pull the plug, myself and my friends were left host-less. As a result, I stumbled upon a forum known as ‘DigitalPoint’ – popular for internet related stuff… and hosting. The worst has yet to come.
If I am not mistaken, I was scammed a further 4 more times at ‘DigitalPoint’. 2 out of the 4 however, went smoothly until their owner decided to close shop. By now I believe I lost at least USD$40+ thanks to ‘DigitalPoint’ alone! Yes. Cheap resellers… take an advise from me and avoid cheap resellers or any cheap hosting for that matter! Around this time (it was 2009), I had a few clients through advertising on forums and through friends (so-call ‘word of mouth’). If there is one thing you need to know about Aerosol Hosting and myself, is that I had less than $15.00 of capital and each time I was scammed, my PayPal total would had been around $5.00. Just to skip ahead, I eventually moved onto a ‘Virtual Private Server’ service provided by WrzHost.
During my time with WrzHost, I experienced numerous hard disk failures (I count 2 as numerous), network outages, horrible support and stuff I can not even remember. It was during my time with WrzHost that I finally purchased a licensed WHMCS license through LicensePal – ONLY $12.50 / MONTH. The VPS was running on 1024MB of RAM despite what I normally advertised it to be and it went pretty smooth all the way through. Another thing you need to know about Aerosol Hosting and myself, most of the technical issues I encounter are ALWAYS and yes, ALWAYS due to my host provider. I can not stress this enough. It is not an attempt for my to cover my ass or whatever, but then again, I partly blame myself for not taking offsite backups which was something I had finally done towards the end of my time with Aerosol. Also, each time I encountered a major issue, I would lose 1 ~ 3 clients and it would take me another 1 or 2 months before I can gain another 1 ~ 3 clients. Just to throw it out now, my % revenue averaged around 20%, there is nothing to hide. I spent quite a lot on 3rd party scripts; outsource support and technicians to improve the services.
Going back to the e-mail I mentioned earlier, it was basically an e-mail from WrzHost about ‘Shutting Down’, have a look yourself.
Continuing on (Yes, it does not stop here), I moved to InfiniteTech VPS services as WrzHost experienced yet another hard disk failure! The first occurred 2 months after purchasing my VPS with them for the first time. I will be honest, InfiniteTech had the BEST SUPPORT throughout the course of my hosting life (if you do not count Blue Mile Networks & FiveBean). At the beginning, they were quick to respond, extremely friendly and very understanding, but this eventually died towards the end of my hosting career. During my time with InfiniteTech, I was (D)DoS attacked numerous times, at this point, I also had a server from RackVM (France) which lasted only 2 months before they closed down! Thinking about it, I am actually missing out a lot here…in summary: my server from RackVM was basically to house my clients on the Aurora (Germany) server whilst the server with InfiniteTech was for my clients previously on the WrzHost server – Neptune (Netherlands). I also had a USA reseller account, but that is not important. Going back to the story, with only one server left, I decided to move every single client from the Germany server to the Netherlands. The upgrade for more RAM was pretty expensive and I was also paying for LiteSpeed Web Server.
Jumping further ahead, around October and November of 2010, I was finally able to sell Aerosol Hosting to an extremely nice owner. The transaction was completed within 24 hours and Aerosol Hosting was out of my life just like that. There are so many reasons why I decided to quit… and I had been playing with this idea since 2009. Really my main reason was: Time. With AS Levels (school) in mind, I really could not continue running this time-consuming business which I had little to gain from besides experience and knowledge in such industry (once again, 20% revenue is not much for the amount of time put in). Additionally, the hosting business requires consistent marketing and advertising, something I was not so good at – also due to the fact I was financially tight! The dilemmas I kept stumbling into also seemed to indicate it was time for me to retire from all this. As cheesy as it may sound, a few weeks before, I closed my eyes thinking, “You know what. I’ll quit Aerosol once I get an indication. Perhaps another weird dilemma…” and it happened! I had random network connection errors that both my host and myself, could not explain! I was losing clients day by day… and based upon my revenue forecasts I would be making losses.
I finally came to a conclusion that I had gained sufficient experience in this field (for my level and capabilities) and it was time to close the shop after 2 years. The hosting industry in my opinion, is simply too saturated! If you were to combine both the underground and ground host companies, it would perhaps account for 25% of all internet users! This journey had taught me a lot of things and made me learn from a lot of mistakes – e.g. The lack of exposure Aerosol Hosting had, the bad back-end management, the stupid outsource services from Assistanz (avoid them).
So this is a message to all of you. If YOU ever decide to step in the hosting industry, PLEASE RECONSIDER. You should be financially capable in sustaining your services for at least 1 year without customers and you should have as little as possible, distractions (e.g. 2nd job, school, etc). If you are in school, DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT BECOMING A HOST. I admit I was being too overambitious and perhaps intrigued by the fact people were able to make money so easily online, BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I learned my lesson… you should not go through the hard way I did. In fact, I still hold guilt inside me for not doing as well as I thought I could for my IGCSEs due to this HUGE DISTRACTION.
The e-mail from WrzHost made me consider sharing my experiences of all this. I am confident there are others out there, just like me, whether it is in the past, present or future. As you can see from WrzHost e-mail, his case is almost identical to mine (minus the part about being in debts). I am hoping to share a story for aspiring hosts… I started this when I was around 14. Yes, I did make a profit out of this at the end, but all the time I wasted and the energy spent on anger… I really do not know if this was all worth it in the end.
Feel free to leave your comments and whatever below.
Sorry for rushing through my whole 2 years of hosting experience, it is really a lot more than that!
I realised I skipped quite a lot about my dedicated servers, experience with nginx, first attempt to sell at 2009 (with the highest bidder bidding it for $750) and chargebacks…
If you had read this far, thanks
See you soon.