Customer Expectations and How Hosting Companies Can Respond

What your web host customers want - Plesk

The high quality of server infrastructure became a commodity. The price race to the bottom is already at the finish line. That is why it is not surprising that many hosting companies look for a different value they could offer to their customers.
Additionally, users nowadays expect more than just excellent performance.

Customers Expect #1: Great User Experience

It’s all because of Steve Jobs. He has fostered expectations regarding user experience to an enormous level and made it the backbone of Apple commercial success. It was not only about how the product looks. It was also about how it works and how it is packed. The most important thing was the overall experience the customer had while using the product.

But it isn’t just Apple, both Google and Facebook have acquired digital agencies specialized in design with the sole purpose of understanding the overall experience users expect.

Nowadays, this trend is also visible in Hosting industry. Companies like GoDaddy, WP Engine, Liquid Web, and FlyWheel have all completely redesigned their user interfaces, and several others are already working on their new control panels. But again, it is not only about how the interface looks. It is about smartly-designed customer journey which gives them perfect overall experience from using the hosting company services. What those companies did was to create a completely new environment for their users. An environment where users feel safe, comfortable and well taken care of.

Perfect Dashboard

Customers Expect #2: Great Features

But design is not the only part of the overall user experience. Users also expect more features from hosting companies.

Why? Because they don’t spend their days naming databases anymore. They want to do another thing with their websites. They want to update the cms, update plugin. Or maybe create a safe, verified backup? They want to do security scan, just to make sure, that everything is fine. Finally, they want to test their websites after having done all those things, because they need to be as professional as possible for their customers. And no, with current hour rates that freelancers or digital agencies get they don’t have nor time nor money to test everything manually in a proper way.

And they feel that their hosting provider doesn’t give them tools to do that. It’s a matter of time before they start to think that their hosting provider doesn’t care about them or their businesses.

Safe Automated WordPress Update feature is trending right now as the new must-have for innovating hosting companies. It includes detecting possible updates of a website’s CMS (as well as plugins and themes), updating and – most importantly – testing the website afterward to make sure it looks exactly the way it used to before updating. Again, all those cool, automated features should be put in the right order, creating an easy and simple user journey, complemented by great, proactive support. Users don’t want tools, which are as difficult to use, that it is less time consuming to keep doing their job the old school, manual way.

Perfect Dashboard extension

Customers Expect #3: To Have it All ASAP

Back in 2015 Perfect Dashboard was the first provider to offer a fully automated WordPress update technology with a visual testing engine. As the time went by we’d seen more and more hosting companies using that technology or building their own alternatives. It seems that the possibility of updating website software without worrying about breaking the website is becoming a new standard among the leading web hosting providers.

  • In March 2017, Chris Lema, VP of LiquidWeb, announced their ”Visual Comparisons” feature release.
  • In April 2017 GoDaddy’s ManageWP announced their own solution trying really hard to keep up their competition.
  • In June 2018 Safe Automated WordPress Update solution will be a standard feature provided by innovative hosting companies.
  • In April 2019 it will become a commodity, just as safe infrastructure became a commodity lately.



Starting today, every hosting company that uses Plesk can offer Safe WordPress Update feature to their customers through Perfect Dashboard extension for Plesk servers. Just make sure that this extension is allowed in your company’s extension directory.

This insight was brought to you by Perfect Dashboard, makers of the Perfect Dashboard extension for Plesk.

How to customize Plesk Online Help

Sometimes the one may want to redefine Plesk Online Help with something else. Here is a brief guide how to do that

  1. The easiest would be to download a copy of existing Plesk documentation pool and modify its contents. i.e. you could simply download recursively every document referenced from documentation page.
  2. Then put it into some web available location (hereinafter – URL). The structure should be something like that
    • URL/
    •    en-US/
    •        online/
    •             plesk-administrator-guide/
    •             …
    •    help.htm
    •    refArticles.js
  3. Each collection of Plesk documents has help.htm file and refArticles.js files. These files define which documentation page will be shown as a Help for a particular screen. The files’ structure is quite clear and normally you don’t need to modify them, just be sure they are available in your new location (URL).
  4. Now find a /usr/local/psa/admin/conf/panel.ini file (/opt/psa/admin/conf/panel.ini in Debian/Ubuntu) and add (or modify) two lines there:

Now when you click Help in Plesk, a Help located at your custom URL will be opened.