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Pulkit Gupta: Softaculous Helps Many People. We Learn From Them

Posted by hosttycoon On February - 3 - 2012

I met Pulkit Gupta at HostingCon 2011 in San Diego. I did’n have too much time to get to know him there, but at some point I decided that his Softaculous is not just a very interesting product, but it is a success story. At the time Softaculous was released there were at least one more well-established auto-installer software library, in a market that didn’t seem to need more. So I was interested to find out how did Pulkit maker breakthrough and how did he made Softaculous probably the popular auto-installer  software library.

Please tell me how did you come up with the idea to create Softaculous?

I noticed the difficulty people had in installing and maintaining their websites if they don’t have a technical background, which many people don’t have. The idea came from this very observation.

Were there any other auto-installer libraries before the launch of Softaculous? I think Fantastico was there, wasn’t it?

Yes, Fantastico was there. Later when we launched I realized two more were there as well. Installatron and SimpleScripts.

Then, I should to ask you did you resolve any issues that other auto-installers had and did you learn from them how to improve Softaculous?

Yes and no. As I said during the time I made Softaculous, the only one I knew was Fantastico. They were not regular updates n Fantastico at the time and that was one flaw we improved upon. I made sure our updates reach fast. Apart from that I found that we could innovate to such a great degree (as it is Softaculous now). And hence there are tons of features in Softaculous which were not there in our competitors and they now copy us. I guess the industry has also shown that Softaculous is a better product by adapting it.

Can you tell me how did you make the breakthrough? Is there any specific thing that helped you to make Softaculous so popular?

Not just one. We had so many innovative features such as: faster updates, demos, ratings, reviews, better UI, one click installation (many are still not one click till date). The only marketing we did was post at Web Hosting Talk in the “Announcements” forums whenever we released a cool new version. Rest was all word of mouth. The Softaculous success came because of the community of users, and also because of the hard work and innovation!… or the very

Do you remember the first web host that installed Softaculous?

Well Softaculous was a free installer for the first 6 months and we didn’t have any tracking of licenses in use then.

Is there a real competition in the market of auto-installer software products or the market is just too big so the companies would compete one to another?

The market is surely big and there is intense competition now. Before we entered the other players were, I guess, happy with the status quo. Fantastico with the one being the dominant one, Installatron being the an alternative to Fantastico and being dominant on DirectAdmin servers and SimpleScripts being the BlueHost installer. This was before Softaculous entered the market. But we did alter the way the market worked. Today I guess the competition has increased nearly 10 times what it was back then. It is good for the market.

What does Softaculous mean? Is it a word play game?

“Software” + Spectaculous” = Softaculous. This is how I thought of the name.

Were you the only one who created the core of Softaculous or you had partners in the development team?

I was the only one. I have been a coder since I was 16. I guess I learned quite a lot while writing Softaculous.

What was the most important project or job you had before the launch of Softaculous?

I used to maintain a forum software. I had also written an ERP for my Dad’s Factory which is still in use and handles production of over 100 Tons a day.

100 tons of …?


You obviously didn’t decide to lay on your father’s business and to have an easy life? What motivates you to work hard, to set and achieve goals and to move forward in business?

Well I guess one should do what one enjoys. And I enjoy software more than yarn (till date). Also in software you can play God as you are the creator of a whole new stuff! One single thought that motivates me is the fact that I want my software to be used by millions and millions of people.

Now I got it. You like being in charge :) ?

I guess yes :) Who doesnt !

Let’s get back to Softaculous! How you do you decide which scripts to add to Softaculous? What’s the objective? Is it to have the highest number of scripts automated for installation?

We see which scripts have a good potential and decide. Many suggestions come from users. Also we do want to have a very vibrant list of scripts in our library. I think the user should be given as many options as possible. The new script vendors should get a fair chance to enter the market. E. g. if a new blogging software comes along which is better than lets say WordPress, why should that script not be given a chance? Let the users decide which is the best in the market.

At the same time there are tons of scripts which come and go. We don’t add them.

Would you sell Softaculous one day or merge it with another software producer in order to achieve a certain business goals? Or you see it as a core, traditional business for you?

I really cant foretell the future. But I would do anything which is beneficial to the customers first. And yes Softaculous is a business for me which I enjoy.

So you are not one of those guys who would love to sell their business when they get a very good offer?

No, I wouldn’t sell Softaculous, its the way I am able to touch so many lives and help so many people who don’t know how to install or upgrade scripts.

So it is not just business, it is for cause?

Yes, I read this quote by Benjamin Franklin: “If you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing”!

I was just about to tell you that if you one day decide to enter politics it might work :) Business persons usually do care mostly about profits. You seem to think a little bit different?

I do care about profits as well. Also I feel rich people should do more to help the underprivileged people. I feel “With great power comes even greater responsibility”. I feel in sharing wealth when I have some considerable wealth that is to be shared.

OK, tell me is there any software scripts you have found and planning to add to Softaculous, which you find outstanding? Do you see any new application which would make a big breakthrough within the next few years?

I feel our 6 months our new product AMPPS which is a WAMP or MAMP stack is really a game changer. Its got Softaculous inbuilt and its free.

Thank you for your time Pulkit. It was good to talk to you!

tatiana-shaidorova-ispsystemI have made myself known with ISPsystem during the HostingCon 2009 conference in Washington DC where the company was among the Silver Sponsors. The first thing I that made a difference was their logo. I like it and It made me to pay some attention of this software producers. When I went to their website I’ve found that they have complete web hosting automation software line. Then I got in touch with the company asked Tatiana Shaidorova to present ISPsystem.

Hi Tatiana, good to meet you. Your company produces web hosting control panel, VPS management software, dedicated hosting system, DNS manager, IP manager and even a billing solution for web hosts. This is quite impressive, but shall ask you isn’t it too risky for any software developer to compete on any of these niches in the hosting industry? Why didn’t you focus on any of the above mentioned markets?

Our mission is to provide and design the web hosting automation software complex. The core of the company is a dedicated team of highly skilled programmers who work hard at fulfilling this mission. It is our advantage over competitors. Our products are integrated with each other. So it is very convenient for clients to use web hosting automation software line of one developer.

Which us your best selling software product?

ISPmanager is the best selling product. It is obvious. The hosting control panel is the most useful software for hosting automation.

I have found that one of the reputable UK hosting providers UK2group already offers “ISPmanager PRO”. So is ISPmanager the most popular one? How many customers do you have on the UK and European market?

As I mentioned before ISPmanager is the most popular one among our web hosting automation software line. We are novices on UK and European markets. But I am proud to say that we already have a lot of customers on this market. Our products are the most popular on the Eastern European market (Russia, CIS countries). We have been on this market for 5 years. ISPsystem software has been pushed on international markets only for a year. It is not a long period. But we have obtained the results. Our client base increases every day. ISPsystem software is gradually becoming worldwide products in hosting industry.

There some differences between web hosting markets in Europe and North America. In U.S. Shared Hosts sell unlimited, the Americans prefer to use more cPanel then Parallels Plesk panel. However Parallels are stronger in Europe. What are your advantages and how do you compete each of these software producers? If I was prospective client what would you tell me to make me to sign with you?

ISPmanager is easy to use and fully featured control panel with the user friendly interface.  It has a set of advantages. One of the greatest advantages is high efficiency with low system resources consumption. ISPmanager is easily installed without changing operating system configuration. Also the control panel can satisfy the requirements of both novice users and advanced server administrators. It provides multi-level access to administrative features for increased management flexibility. ISPmanager is updated regularly. We have a reasonable price policy with progressive discount system. I think these are our main advantages.

Let me now ask you about another product of yours – the Reseller level of ISPmanager. How important is this software application for you. Does it allow you to get more web hosts as clients?

Our Partner Program is very attractive for our clients. Partner Program includes low prices and flexible progressive discount system. Surely, it allows us to get more web hosts as clients.

You have said that your company has already debuted a Windows version of ISPmanager. Do you think that it will become more successful that the Linux one?

It is very difficult to predict what will be more successful – ISPmanager for Linux or for Windows. The Windows-based hosting market is currently developing. According to our observations, Microsoft is doing its best to develop the Windows Platform. At present, there are not so many Windows-based products. So, we hope ISPmanager for Windows will be successful on its niche in the hosting industry. We have already launched only test version of the hostign automation software for Windows. Now we are waiting for client reviews and wishes in order to improve ISPmanager for Windows.

I have reviewed your Virtual Private Server manager called “VDSmanager”. Can you please explain how do you integrate this virtualization technology with OpenVZ and Xen?

VDSmanager runs on two different operating systems – FreeBSD and Linux. VDSmanager for Linux is a user friendly web based interface that enables to create and manage different virtual machines based on popular server virtualization technologies like OpenVZ and Xen.  Xen and OpenVZ don’t have GUI. So VDSmanager for Linux is the best solution for VPS management using OpenVZ and Xen. VDSmanager for FreeBSD is available in two versions: VDSmanager and VDSmanager-SMP. VDSmanager is installed on a mono core processor machine. VDSmanager-SMP on multi-core CPUs.

Which software product of yours is most interesting for the web hosting providers?

It depends on kinds of web hosting business that hosting providers are going to render. Solutions for Shared Hosting – BILLmanager, ISPmanager, DNSmanager, IPmanager (optional); Solutions for VPS Hosting- BILLmanager, VDSmanager, ISPmanager, IPmanager (optional); Solutions for Dedicated Server Hosting – BILLmanager, DSmanager, ISPmanager, IPmanager (optional).

I’m interested to learn more about DSmanager. You promote it as “absolutely unique solution”. I didn’t see many similar software solutions. Can you please tell me more about DSmanager?

Yes, DSmanager is the absolutely unique solution. There are no many similar software solutions. DSmanager is a Dedicated Server management system. It provides centralized management of dedicated servers, allows minimizing connectivity, hardware and operating system installation, support, maintenance expenses, and maximizing the uptime of the network. DSmanager makes the process just a few clicks away.

DSmanager advantages:
• All dedicated servers are stored in a single base. The search for servers can be performed by their type, operating system and location.
• Users can install operating systems, reboot the servers, connect and disconnect to the network via single control panel.
• DSmanager supports power and network switches, enabling to use them with dedicated servers, once they are registered in the system.
• The panel can be used to automatically assign IP addresses from a pool of available IP addresses, simplifying their operation.
• Multilevel permission system: Admin, Reseller, Dedicated Server Owner.
• Open Application Programming Interface (API) enabling to use all features of the control panel, to integrate with various billing systems, etc.

If you are focused on Dedicated Servers lease and Server Collocation, DSmanager can help you to automatize business processes and provide new services to your customers.

Some software producers sell support, others include a basic level of support in their service plans. Please tell me how do you provide support. It says 24/7 on your website, but do your customers shall pay additional fees to receive technical support?

Our support is 24/7. In all cases when a license is ordered by the User directly from ISPsystem without participation of the Partner, technical support of the Software Product is rendered in full scope free of charge (additional works and services are paid for separately).  In other words, in most cases support is free.

Your pricing is in Euro. Do you sell in euros on the U.S. market and how do you deal with the weak dollar if you need to sell the software licenses at the same price in USD?

Minor changes in the dollar exchange rate are not so important for us.

Do you have any plans to enter in the Cloud computing market and if “yes” what kind of Cloud software would you have?

We are planning to go forward in this direction. But now I can’t say anything about it.

HostingCon 2009: Inside The Exhibition Hall

Posted by hosttycoon On August - 18 - 2009

This year’s exhibition hall of the HostingCon was smaller compared to the one that hosted exhibitors previous year, but most attendees said that it was more convenient. We have spoken to many of the exhibitors you can see below and all of them said they are very satisfied of the way HostingCon 2009 was organized. Most said that the conference was successful for them and they had a good business during the exhibition days – August 11 and 12. One of the biggest exhibitors were Softlayer, Parallels, cPanel and Microsoft. TheWHIR sponsored the networking lounge inside the exhibition hall. If there were are competition for a booth design Parallels would probably win. 2CheckOut, a provide or payment services fro web hosts in countries with undeveloped dot-com economies was on the show and I was surprised of this. But the company has specialized in providing payment solutions for the web hosting industry.


Aflexi – collaborative CDN software producer.

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The guys from BackupAgent.

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The famous Web Hosting Talk.

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Realtime Register – Dutch Domain registrar that offers nice prices on general TLD’s and on European domain names.

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The booth of HostingControler.

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The booth of HostingControler.

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Hosting Panama, a good place for outsourcing.

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SpamExperts, another Dutch company. Dutch dot-com businesses have one of the best designed booths at the show.

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Steadfast staff at the company’s booth. We have never heard of this web host, but decided to take a picture of its booth because of the catchy green color.

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Trustwave, a company that provides SSl certificates and other e-commerce products.

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DemoWolf, the most popular provider of tutorials for the web hosting industry.

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Ping!Zine, the longest running print magazine in web hosting industry.

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Teresa and Alisa from VeriSign.

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The 2Checkout booth at the con.

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Keith Dunkan, the publisher of Ping!Zine and Dimitar Avramov, the CEO of SingleOS.

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Parallels, the only web hosting events you can not see them are those organized by their competitors.

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cPanel, the most popular web hosting control panel was one of the featured exhibitors at the HostingCon 2009.

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The guys from DotNetPanel, a Windows web hosting control panel.

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