Plesk powers most of the top 100 hosters in the world and is used by more than 2500 service partners. By working together with them on a detailed research project, we identified and analyzed many real life examples of poor user experience. UX is a term commonly used for the design of applications and websites to allow seamless and intuitive usability. In actual fact, the term encompasses a far broader spectrum of customer interaction with a product or service. Plesk stands for delivering superb UX on all levels and we try to support our partners to the best of our abilities. After speaking with lots of hosting companies around the globe as well as checking their order process and products, we’ve devised a list of recommendations for hosters offering different solutions or packages based on virtual and dedicated servers–with Plesk included or optional. Our recommendations can be divided into four groups:
How many steps are needed? Can they be reduced?
How can you sell in the best way possible how Plesk can help you do that.
Selling and upselling process
The less steps the better
Plesk provisioning and service delivering
Customer Experience and Integration
If you are a service provider these recommendations were created especially for you. Let’s take a look.
The main issue we noticed is that a large number of hosts offer too many similar packages. This hinders the process of finding the most suitable one. Displayed options should always be clear and simple to grasp. We recommend offering one to maximum three packages instead of filling your website with closely related offers where the sole differentiators are resources.
Thus, the description with regard to resources and services included in a package should be easy to understand. If a package description contains a long list of different resources or services and added to that you are offering many of these packages, the risk of losing your prospect to a competitor who’s simplified their solutions display is pretty high.
Alternatively, you can hide the list of additional features, making resource configuration and services visible only on demand. If a prospect wants to know more, they should be able to easily expand the package information and read the details.
We also recommend creating offers targeted at specific groups of customers like developers, web designers and SMB’s. This approach helps end-users make an informed choice and order a service they’ll be more likely to use over an extended period of time.
When presenting offers based on Plesk, we recommend displaying Plesk details on the same area as the package description. Hiding or placing information that explains Plesk somewhere other than here forces the prospect to search for the info themselves. This results in bad UX. Finally, ensure all Plesk information and logos are up to date.
All required documents and media files are in our Plesk Marketing Kit.
Please contact the Plesk team to get credentials to the kit and optimized your offers.
Selling and upselling process
In order to simplify the ordering process for prospects we recommend the following:
Provide several reputable worldwide and local payment methods. If prospects only have one way to pay, this may drive them away. For example, we suggest European hosters to include the following three payment methods: PayPal, Credit Card payment, SEPA.
Avoid long ordering procedures at all costs. A maximum of 5 steps should be more than enough:
customer registration or login
completion of ordering
Ensure your multi-language online store includes:
any other needed languages.
Guarantee quick and easy customer authentication for the first order. There are several simple and popular methods for end users to receive activation codes. The common are sending activation codes by email or SMS. You can try to send by post but it takes at least 2-3 working days and could generate bad customer feedback right at the beginning, which is what we aim to avoid.
Additional topic for Plesk provisioning:
We have a few additional recommendations after checking some partners with regard to virtual servers deployment.
Please always use correct FQDN hostnames. Otherwise you will have such an error during installation:
===> Updated /etc/psa/psa.conf
Trying to save legacy variables... done
Unable to detect the fully qualified domain name of the host.
Please make sure that FQDN of the host is correctly specified in /etc/hosts and goes right after the host's IP address (depending on your OS, you might need to set the host name in /etc/HOSTNAME or /etc/hostname).
Setting it to localhost.localdomain
Trying to resolve hostname 'localhost.localdomain' and validate its IP address...
Bad sample: “debian” or “id12345”
Good sample: “id12345.hostname.tld”
Hostnames should be resolved to the public ip-address. It is enough, that the hostname is resolved at least locally on the server. For this you should configure the file /etc/hosts properly on a Linux server. Otherwise you will have an error like this:
Trying to resolve hostname ’id12562.node23.provider.net' and validate its IP address…
Unable to resolve host name.
Please specify the host name in the /etc/hosts file or specify DNS configuration in the /etc/resolv.conf on your system.
ERROR while trying to check the hostname
Check the error reason(see log file: /var/log/plesk/install/plesk_12.5.30_installation.log), fix and try again
Provide enough resources to the server
Plesk requirements for Linux servers: at least 512MB RAM, 10GB HDD, 1 CPU
Plesk recommendations for Linux servers: 1024MB RAM, 15GB HDD, 2 CPUs
Plesk requirements for Windows servers: at least 1GB RAM, 32GB HDD, 1 CPU
Plesk recommendations for Windows servers: 1,5GB RAM, 32GB HDD, 2 CPUs
If you provide e.g. small virtual servers with only 512MB RAM, we recommend enabling swap to avoid issues due to lack of resources. See example of Plesk installation errors below:
If you use a local repository of Plesk Panel, please update it frequently, otherwise you and your customers will miss Plesk micro-updates.
Please inform your customers about completion of the subscription provisioning as soon as possible or at least, as soon as the provisioning of virtual/dedicated server with Plesk is completed. We noticed that some hosts inform their customers too late and that approach produces a negative experience from the beginning. We detected some bad examples, when a welcome email or email with information about service deployments was delivered earliest in 2-5 hours after the ordering completion. This is a really bad user experience from customers point of view. If you have this case, please improve provisioning of virtual servers with Plesk (see above) and inform your customers in a timely manner.
Please don’t forget to add information about Plesk in your welcome emails. The welcome email should contain a link to Plesk’s interface and information on how your customers can log into Plesk. You should assume that your customers are not familiar with Plesk and you should provide them with useful information in order to make their life easier and also minimize your support team’s efforts. Also provide information on how to start with Plesk (https://docs.plesk.com/en-US/12.5/quick-start-guide/read-me-first.74371/), as well as links to your own FAQ and/or to Plesk documentations (https://docs.plesk.com/en-US/12.5/), and KB-articles (https://kb.plesk.com/).
Additionally, we recommend informing your customers periodically about some existing and new features depending on the requests your support team gets from your customers.
If you provide a customer interface for subscription management, we recommend adding useful information about Plesk and corresponding links to your own FAQ or to Plesk documentation and/or corresponding Plesk KB-articles. It will make your customers more confident using Plesk based offers.
We hope that this information is useful to you to improve your user experience and get lots of happy customers.
As a highlight of this article, we would like to share the top UX flaws we found during our investigation:
The Overly Generous Host
One of the service provider we investigated delivers virtual servers that exceed their limits immediately after provisioning.
Please don’t forget that your customers usually install some additional software on their ordered servers.
Security Zealot Host
Another hoster we found actually mails activation codes to their customers. The customer can only log into the service management interface and manage their services 3-5 working days after completing purchase.
Security is of utmost important but let’s not overdo it!
Slowpoke Service Deployment
Server provisioning at one of the hosters we analyzed takes about 2 hours or sometimes even longer. The same is true for recreation of a virtual server.
Nowadays, customers expect immediate deliveries. And there are many technologies and ways to provide quick server provisioning with or without additional software. Please try to provision services as fast as possible.
With these recommendations, we hope to give your hosting business a push in the right direction. Investing into providing the best UX to guarantee a smooth journey through your offerings will eradicate prospect confusion and position you as a service provider of choice.
¨It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.¨ Steve Jobs
How to Deliver the Best UX as a Hosting Company2016-08-092019-03-18https://www.plesk.com/wp-content/themes/plesk/images/plesk_logo_144x144_black.pngPleskhttps://scdn1.plesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/24161152/images_post_blog_august_economy.jpg200px200px