Datacenter Dossier: HostingPanama

(Ping! Zine Issue 24) – Over the past few years, an increasing number of webhosts have seriously considered going offshore, representing a push to co-locate or rent servers in remote, international datacenters. And it’s for a good reason, too. Even in recent years, new data handling, management and disclosure regulations have put many American and European hosting providers under the cross-hairs of litigation, and have created new liabilities never seen before in the industry. Hosting certain kinds of sites, such as dating sites and on-line casinos, is heavily regulated or even forbidden within the United States, and with the advent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, hosts are often all but required to take down content on the first notice that it may represent copyright infringement. If hosts do not immediately comply with DMCA takedown requests, they can be considered participants in copyright infringement, in turn leading to potential legal liability.  For hosts and their consumers alike, these restrictions are often enough to make offshore hosting options a very viable and practical alternative to hosting in the United States. With the continued overall growth in the offshore hosting market, it’s a trend that isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.

HostingPanama, based in Panama City, Panama, hopes to tap that demand for offshore hosting solutions. The company operates nearly 14,000 square feet of datacenter floor space, spread across two facilities. Each comes complete with all the trimmings today’s hosting consumers have come to expect.

For power, the facilities maintain redundant, off-grid UPS systems—allowing for up to five days of autonomy in the event of a power grid failure. Advanced Precision Air Conditioning units keep humidity and temperature at a constant level, and FM-200 double interlock pre-action dry pipe suppression systems guard against fire. Server hardware is provided through a partnership with MA Labs, a leading US-based component distributor.

Network operations are monitored and controlled by a fully staffed, 24/7 network operations center, and each facility has connectivity to multiple backbone providers, including GlobalCrossing, Verizon, Latin American Nautilus, through Cable & Wireless.

“From an infrastructure and design standpoint, our datacenter facilities are world class,” said Melquiades Cordoba, Chief Operations Officer of HostingPanama. “The technical specifications of our facilities and our track record as a provider reflect that.” 

To ensure physical access security, HostingPanama maintains continuous video surveillance, controlled access systems, multi-lock doors, and armed on-site security staff.

The datacenter’s building represents the equivalent of Class-A commercial space, and because it is located in Panama City, Panama, it is not prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or volcanoes.

But it’s not just the facility’s technical qualities that make HostingPanama so alluring for foreign businesses. Instead, many American businesses are drawn to the company’s English speaking, fully certified operations team. Since the company is based in Panama City—located at the base of Central America—it operates at GMT-5 (Central time during daylight savings time and Eastern time for the rest of the year), allowing businesses in the United States to easily communicate with the sales, customer service and support teams. The technical support department is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Employees are trained and specialized in various datacenter technologies and applications, including Microsoft, Plesk, Linux, Cisco, Foundry, Fortinet, Watchguard and recently Rio Rey appliances. HostingPanama also maintains a Microsoft Service Provider Level Agreement, requiring it to meet certain service quality benchmarks and standards. With the agreement, the company is also the only hosting provider in Panama able to lease Microsoft software. Through leasing, customers can utilize expensive software (MS SQL, Exchange, Office, etc.) at small monthly as low as $19.95, instead of paying the full retail price to own a license. When newer versions of the software are released, users can upgrade at no additional charge.

“As a company based in Panama, boasting a fully bilingual and technology-oriented workforce, we are in a unique position to offer American businesses a level of support and service they would expect from providers within the United States,” said Eduardo Vila, Chief Sales Officer of HostingPanama. “Ultimately, the competency of our services, combined with the legal protections that Panama affords to businesses and the world-class design of our datacenter, has made HostingPanama a working solution for thousands of businesses from nearly every country of the world.”

That success has come after several years of executing an aggressive business development strategy. For the past three years, as a founding sponsor, the company has held floor space at the hosting industry’s largest tradeshow, HostingCon. Last year, HostingPanama became a SWsoft Certified Hosting Partner, and is in talks with Continuous Data Protection provider R1Soft to offer innovative backup solutions to all servers located within its facilities.

With its substantial growth, which the company says has been 95% in the last year alone, HostingPanama now boasts over thirty-five employees, and serves an international customer base numbering over 7,000 businesses. As Panama’s largest specialized hosting firm, the company also serves more than 800 local businesses, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)  providers; investment and real estate companies; as well as financial and government institutions, among many others.

HostingPanama frequently encourages its international customers to explore the various legal advantages to incorporating or running their businesses through Panama. Namely, as one of the most business-friendly countries in the world, Panama offers strict privacy laws and a slew of tax advantages for foreign owners. Panamanian corporations are not subject to taxes on income, capital gains, interest income, sales, issuance of corporate shares, property, estate, inventory, and more. The country’s privacy laws are exceptionally strict, allowing international companies to discretely and securely do business in Panama.

“Privacy is what HostingPanama sells. For many of their customers, especially Americans, there is a level of corporate freedom that simply can’t be achieved back home. Panama allows business owners to flourish without having to disclose personal and private information to third parties unnecessarily, and helps them reach personal and corporate goals that in other regions would be harder or impossible to achieve,” said Vila. “There are distinctive reasons why thousands of small, medium, and enterprise scale companies have considered Panama an ideal location to legally base their business.”

HostingPanama provides dedicated servers and colocation, starting at $119/monthly for between 360GB and 1,000GB of data transfer per month. The company also provides shared and virtual private server Web hosting. Linux- and Windows-based shared hosting plans start at $9.95/monthly, and include 3GB of disk space and 12GB of data transfer per month. Linux Virtuozzo-based VPS plans start at $69.95/monthly, and include 20GB of disk space with 60GB of data transfer per month. All hosting plans include the ability to use private-labeled DNS, allowing providers to mask the HostingPanama brand.

To learn more about offshore hosting from HostingPanama, visit http://www.hosting.com.pa.

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