Started as a free service, ServerAvatar is a server management panel which helps non-technical users configure Linux servers using a graphical and easy-to-use control panel and deploy websites on virtual private or dedicated servers. During the first year of starting up, the service was provided for free to the users in order to gain some initial traction. The startup has attracted a good number of users during its operation and is now working on a SaaS model.
Founded by Adarsh Sojitra in July 2016, ServerAvatar has already raised INR 300,000 in seed funding from a family friend with an exchange of 25 per cent equity. Adarsh currently operates from the coworking space Ikoverk in Surat. He started his journey as a blogger who writes about SEO and marketing on his personal blog. As most of the bloggers do, he too hosted his website on a shared hosting plan from GoDaddy. He faced downtimes and bad response times with shared hosting.
While browsing the web, one day, he saw an advertisement for a VPS service provider. The ad said, “Get your VPS at $0.01/month“. And it caught his attention. He thought why not host a website on a Virtual Private Server and get rid of issues like bad neighbours and bad response time. He quickly bought the VPS service.
After getting the IP address and root password, he was actively looking for a cPanel (as provided by shared hosting providers). And he came to realize that VPS providers don’t provide any GUI panels but only a command line access. Now, he has to learn commands to migrate his website.
And, here’s when his journey to launch ServerAvatar started. After learning lots of commands and efforts for 2 months he finally migrated his website to VPS. But, he faced issues now or then as Google de-indexed his blog. He thought why not to automate the hefty process. It was the time when VPS services like Vultr and AWS were growing rapidly. He looked at this as an opportunity and started the development of his product.
When asked about the most difficult part in his journey, Adarsh says, “It’s development. ServerAvatar is a combination of two totally different fields and it’s hard and expensive to find people with knowledge in web development as well as system administration. Also, It’s a very very unique idea and very very few companies provide such services.”
ServerAvatar plans to increase its marketing efforts and land new customers over the next three years. While some enterprise customers are already boasted by the company in its portfolio, ServerAvatar aims to attract more enterprise customers who can use custom plans and features. Bandwidth monitoring, automatic backups, etc, to name a few are on the list of features to be developed by the startup over course of time.
Due to slow support and limited control with high pricing, the customer base of shared hosting services have declined over the years. Increase in the number of VPS service providers and decreasing prices of virtual and cloud servers can be counted as reasons for the effect. Major players like Digital Ocean, Vultr, Linode, AWS and Google Cloud are already disrupting the web hosting industry worldwide.
The only demerit of VPS service is lack of a graphical control panel. Let’s say if you are not familiar with Linux commands, and you need to host your website on a Virtual Private Server, it will take you a month to learn the commands and another 45 minutes to deploy a server on VPS even after you learned everything.
ServerAvatar address these problems to its best. The service can do the work for you and you can deploy a website on a VPS under 5 minutes. SSL certificates can also be installed in a click and the service is packed with features like uptime monitoring, database management, phpMyAdmin, error logs and firewall.
If we talk about the competition, there are three major players in the market. First one is cPanel which is a large enterprise but it lacks ease of use and is meant for larger corporations who have skilled human resources to use and manage the service. Second one is ServerPilot which somewhat similar to ServerAvatar but lacks a lot of features and is comparably costlier. The third one is Runcloud which is lightweight as ServerAvatar but is built form people with coding skills.
As a non-technical guy who learned to code, Adarsh understand the pain of non-technical users which they face using the above-mentioned services. ServerAvatar is an affordable service meant to target small businesses and startups. Any person who is running his company single-handedly will love the features provided by ServerAvatar. Adarsh’s core experience has led him to understand which features will the customers love.
Right now, Adarsh works on his startup alone. However, he has hired a content developer who creates technical guides on the startup’s blog. All this is meant to attract organic customers from search engines. Adarsh is hungry for knowledge and expects his team to be hungry for knowledge. He plans to hire a person who is interested in learning new things, implementing new ideas and pushing his limits to the maximum.
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