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Hi There, 2013!

To say that 2012 was an amazingly successful year for Fresh Roasted Hosting would be doing a vast disservice to all the men and women who worked hard behind the scenes to make it all happen.  And it wouldn’t even come close to thanking our loyal customers for choosing a local web hosting company over one of the Big National Hosts ™.  So in the spirit of trying to convey just how happy we are with the way our first year turned out, I’d like to tell you a little bit about how FRH came to be.

New Years 2013 celebration in downtown Harrisburg, PA

I launched my first website in 2002.  It wasn’t much by today’s standards, just a personal photoblog that cycled through several CMSes.  I went through my share of hosting companies big and small, including time spent hosting the site on a friend’s desktop PC.  As the years went on and I launched more and more sites, tinkered with a few VPSes, and even became active on the most popular web hosting forum out there.  As I started looking for a new host around the start of 2011, I began to realize that there were a lot of shortcomings in the hosting industry.

More importantly, it dawned on me that web hosting companies were currently all locked into a “race to the bottom” price war with each other.  It seemed that every host was trying to out-cheap the next, with unlimited this and free that.  Lowering the cost of web hosting is all fine and good, as long as it doesn’t happen at the expense of reliability or performance.  And unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening.  Support gets slashed, servers get overcrowded, and premium bandwidth carriers get tossed aside in favor of cheaper, no-name carriers.  The end result is that you might be saving a few cents a day on hosting, but your site isn’t as fast or as stable as it should be.

In other words, you get what you pay for.

I realized that I could do better.  By mid 2011, Fresh Roasted Hosting was beginning to take shape.  We didn’t have the name or the site design (curiously, these are often the FIRST things that a lot of upstart companies decide), but we did have a datacenter and server lineup picked out.  We did a lot (and I mean a LOT) of testing of different billing systems.  Tiny details (like how easy it would be for a customer to manage his or her account) made up the majority of the deciding factors.  We talked with other hosts, found out what worked, found out what didn’t, and learned from their mistakes.  While other behind-the-scenes details slowly unfolded, we narrowed down our list of names and hired a design firm to come up with a website.  And just a few short months later, Fresh Roasted Hosting was born.

Just a few days after throwing the switch on January 1 2012, our first customer signed up.  A few days later, the second came on board.  And a week later, a third.  Then a fourth.  Then a fifth.  By the end of month one, we were where we expected ourselves to be at the end of month three.  Our annual forecast got revised upward by a healthy margin.  By the end of our first quarter, we were two-thirds of the way to meeting our annual goal.  The forecast got up-revised again.  In July, right around the time we attended Hostingcon 2012, we had to up-revise yet again.  Apparently, giving customers reliable hosting and dependable customer service makes for a pretty good business model.  Who knew?

Although 2012 was a fantastic year, things didn’t always go smoothly.  Early in the year, we changed datacenters after getting some disappointing support during a major DDOS aimed at one of our neighbors.  We also had some extremely painful support moments — though I’m happy to report that those were the exception and not the rule.  And we had to temporarily suspend sales of our Barista Series VPSes due to overwhelming demand.  In every case where we didn’t quite get things right, we learned from our mistakes and made whatever changes were necessary to keep them from happening again.  And most importantly, every customer who didn’t see us at our best is still with us today.  That speaks volumes about the way we do things around here, and tells me that we’re doing those things exactly right.

So as I look forward to 2013 and what exciting things are in store for us, it’s hard to not to already feel a little nostalgic for 2012.  It’s going to be a tough year to beat, but the unpaved road ahead already looks promising.  With our new improved SSL selection, a new line of dedicated servers just around the corner, and new VPS hardware being racked this week, 2013 is already shaping up to be quite an adventure.

On behalf of everyone here at our small-but-mighty full-service web hosting company, thanks for confirming our belief that “cheapest” isn’t always “best”.  In doing so, you’ve helped us pump thousands of dollars back into the local Central PA economy.  From our coffee runs to Little Amps, Cafe Di Luna, and Midtown Scholar, to our lunch meetings at Broad Street Market and Appalachian Brewing Company, and dozens of other local businesses, your decision to trust your content to us helps us stimulate the local economy.  And just as important, it helps us keep our rock-solid infrastructure humming along (let’s face it — being good isn’t cheap).

See you in 2013!

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