Back in January some interesting data on the the technical purchasing decisions of YCombinator startups was released. The data shared was a showcase for a simple but incredibly useful tool called domain profiler.
Developed by Joël Franusic this tool helps you find the following information on domain(s):
- Who is the hosting provider?
- Who is the DNS provider?
- Who is the email host?
- Who is the domain registrar?
- Is a SSL certificate in use on the website?
- Who has issued the SSL certificate?
- What type of SSL certificate is in use?
Now this may seem like superfluous information but it really isn’t. By running the tool across your competitors domains you can get a rough idea of what they’re spending on the above. This is useful from a benchmarking perspective and it can highlight suppliers you should consider to lower your costs or improve your quality of service.
Let’s take the original showcase as an example as it clearly illustrates the benefits of downloading and running this tool. Within a few minutes of studying the data and visualisations provided I learnt the following:
- Amazon Web Services is the most popular hosting provider, followed closely by Rackspace
- SoftLayer, Linode and Slicehost dominate those selecting VPS’s
- Google dominates email hosting
- GoDaddy dominates domain registration
- the majority of companies do not have a SSL certificate
- not a single company uses Windows Azure
All of these companies make their technical decisions based on their own unique requirements and resources. And the data shows that these startups are increasingly choosing the cloud over self-hosting, co-location and dedicated servers.
This confirms what we’ve believed for a long time; the benefits of the cloud are becoming increasingly difficult for a startup to ignore.
Given our excellent and so far unrivalled experience of using Amazon Web Services (for hosting an application, and up until recently this website) and Google (for email) it’s no surprise to us that they’re the leaders in each of these categories. In fact I’m still amazed (given our original tentativeness about using the cloud) how quickly Amazon Web Services and Google have almost become our default suppliers for each of these services.
So next time you’re planning changes to your website, application or email hosting provider make sure you give yourself an hour or two to:
- Download domain profiler
- Generate a report on your competitors domain profiles
- Benchmark your spending on infrastructure services against your direct competitors
- Identify alternative suppliers you should be considering
- Consider the cost/benefit of migrating to the cloud
And remember if you need assistance making the right infrastructure decisions we’re always here to help.