Happy Birthday ZebraHost!

It’s Our Birthday!

Today July 7th, 2000, ZebraHost was established by current CEO Clive Swanepoel. Over these last 20 years, we’ve continuously strived to bring our clients the best of breed technology and exceptional customer service.

Speaking of our clients, we couldn’t have made it this far without you! Over these last 20 years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with you to host many of your wonderful and exciting ideas. These ideas have allowed us to become more creative, respond better to the needs of developers, and position ourselves as a premier provider of infrastructure solutions.

Because a lot has happened over 20 years, we wanted to take a moment to share our story on how we grew into a customer-focused boutique provider we are today.

History of ZebraHost
History of ZebraHost

Our Founding

ZebraHost’s serial entrepreneur CEO Clive Swanepoel has always pioneered new connected technology. Back in South Africa, he was one of the first people to be granted access to the internet by the Council of Scientific Research. Seeking ways to connect South Africa, Clive founded one of South Africa’s first digital sign companies Vivid Outdoor Media. Vivid Outdoor Media built some of the first digital signs that could be controlled remotely through wiring which allowed for easy turnover of advertisements.

After Clive discovered that he was procuring most of the technology and material for Vivid Outdoor Media in the Mid-Western United States, he decided to move to Des Moines Iowa. Wondering how he could continue to deliver cutting-edge services, Clive looked towards his next tech venture. Upon witnessing the growing userbase of the internet, Clive realized that companied needed a service that would allow tech companies to store massive amounts of data with little upfront expense. Capitalizing on this pain point, Clive founded ZebraHost – one of the first hosting providers.

ZebraHost was founded in 2000, right during the height of the dotcom bubble. The surplus of overvalued tech companies failing to deliver a profit eventually led to the greatest tech crash in US history. But the internet did not end with the crash. Companies focused on solving a core pain point, who delivered exceptional customer service, and grew at a sustainable rate continued to thrive.

These 3 factors were what Clive took away from surviving the dotcom crash. ZebraHost still to this day remains committed to growing sustainably without injections from venture capital groups, prioritizing exceptional customer service, and delivering result-oriented solutions. But as the internet continued to grow, there was a demand for more granular solutions.

The Expansion of Our Product Lineup

Although ZebraHost now owns its own hardware and is co-located in industry-leading data centers around the globe, ZebraHost only had its start as a hosting reseller. Reselling is very common in the cloud infrastructure industry, with many smaller providers today still opting to rebrand existing hosting services as their own. Common resale providers include Rackspace and IBM.

ZebraHost spent several years as a shared hosting reseller. Shared hosting is a form of inexpensive cloud infrastructure hosting which has multiple tenants using the same hardware. But as security needs changed, ZebraHost began to offer more premium options like Linux and Windows dedicated servers. Dedicated servers offer enhanced security and flexibility over shared hosting because each server only has one tenant.

In 2007, ZebraHost wanted to bring a solution that combined value and security which led it to begin offering VPS hosting. VPS hosting uses virtualization to separate each tenant so that they can occupy the same server hardware but use resources separately. This creates a secure wall between tenants and reduces the hardware expense normally associated with dedicated servers.

Building a Global Presence

After building a successful US-based brand, ZebraHost continued to grow its data center presence outside of The United States. In 2008 ZebraHost began to offer UK-based data center solutions. This allowed ZebraHost to test the European market.

5 years later, ZebraHost expanded its presence not just in Europe, but in Asia and Australia as well. In 2013, ZebraHost expanded its data center offerings to include Amsterdam, Singapore, and Melbourne, Australia. The result was that ZebraHost could now reach customers with strict data sovereignty laws, reduce latency for customers abroad, and build a truly globally connected network.

Purchasing Our Own Hardware

While reseller hosting and renting infrastructure works for smaller providers who are trying to get a start, ZebraHost had long outgrown this phase and was looking for ways to reduce cost and grow more sustainably.

In 2018, ZebraHost started purchasing its own hardware in order to have more control over its hardware and reduce licensing costs. The result was unparalleled flexibility in market offerings allowing ZebraHost to bring bespoke solutions at an unmatched value. Starting with Altoona, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri, ZebraHost has continued to purchase hardware to meet growth needs.

As we continue to expand our footprint in data centers across the globe, we will be purchasing hardware that meets the performance, sovereignty, and security needs of our clients.

The Growth of our Leadership and Team

We wouldn’t be where we are without our exceptional team and leadership.

In 2019, Nate Battles joined Clive Swanepoel in leading the company as Managing Partner. The two constantly exchange ideas and visions for the future of ZebraHost while working personally with clients to make sure technical challenges are resolved.

Over the last couple of years, new additions have been made to the team to assist in sales, marketing, and systems administration. Together the team is focused on meeting existing and planning for future challenges while putting our clients first.

Where We’re Heading

We aren’t just spending the day reminiscing about the last 20 years, we’re planning for the next 20! As ZebraHost has grown and changed so has the market for cloud services. There is increased demand for remote work services, enhanced security, compliance compatibility, and better data responsibility. And we’re planning to tackle all of those!

We will be spending these next 20 years revamping our current offerings to make sure they remain industry-leading while introducing new services that compliment them. Stay tuned over the next few years to see the exciting changes we’re about to make!

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