Hey, I'm Adam – trying to launch a server monitoring business

Hi all,

My name is Adam and I have been building small web apps to test out my ideas for a few years. I have been writing PHP for about 8 years, wrote a book on the CodeIgniter framework and I now work as a Technical Writer full time. I have been lurking here for quite a while but only now have something to post.

I have been trying to launch a server monitoring business for about 8 months now. Originally I would upgrade copies of WordPress until last month I had a brainwave, despite bigger competitors such as Server Density, I launched Server Captain in just 5 weeks.

I’d like to get your feedback on the whole idea & the execution. Would this be something you would pay for in general? Would you pay me to do it? If not, how could I convince you of my qualifications? I have been live for about a week now and have had 2 sign ups, one was "test@test.com" and another used mailinator. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong and could really do with being put on the right track.



Two things:

  1. What channels are you using to spread the word about your service? Do you have a clear goal and plan for acquiring customers?
  2. It’s not clear to me from your site what pain you’re trying to cure. All I see is you are charging $70 per DO droplet (I think) whereas I can get a Droplet directly from DO starting a $5 per month. Can you adjust your site so it clarifies the value you’re offering?

Anthony Eden

I have an email list of around 20 people who I have a (mostly) personal connection with that I have emailed. I’m using twitter pretty ineffectively as well.

All the features I offer are listed below the sign up button, also the price is in addition to the $5 cost of the droplet, this is a service that sits on top of Digital Ocean as they just provide you with the server. If it goes down at silly o’clock, you have to put it back up yourself. Maybe I could have a table that shows what Digital Ocean provides and what I provide on top to clear any confusion?


For me, I have no idea what you are selling.

I would like to try out the service before I pay for it. Where is the trial?

You need to make clear what you are selling, what value you offer. Don’t assume people will know everything. Who is your target market? How much do they know already?

It looks like people are trying to see what you are selling, and don’t trust you enough. But if you want to stop fake email accounts, use something like Mailchimp. They check for things like these.

It sounds like you need to grow that list a bit. Perhaps try to provide some useful content around what you’re providing, perhaps in the form of blog posts or downloadable PDF cheat sheets.

The copywriting just isn’t very clear though. It doesn’t say to me: we monitor your servers and then…do something? I tell what you might do when a server fails. Do you notify me? Do you fix it? What happens?

Also, you probably should focus on one thing (say the monitoring) and remove copy around security audits and server management tasks.

Here’s a simple formula for your copywriting: pain - dream - fix.

  • Describe the pain.
  • Describe the dream of how it could be.
  • Then tell them how your service provides the dream.

Best of luck!

1 Like

I manage my own Linode server and run a yum update once a month or so and just hope that I don’t get hacked. Ideally if I could subscribe to a service that would monitor packages I have installed for security updates, keep an eye on my firewall, monitor logs, and offer other pro-active security measures on my server, I’d be happy to pay for that piece of mind. I have no idea if there are many others out there like me though.

Have you seen https://serverpilot.io ? These guys look pretty slick and I believe they’re venture-backed.

Your copy was clear enough for me. I think your larger problem is outreach. You need to get your service idea in front of lots and lots of people.

Like @bradt - I just handle this myself. I know I shouldn’t and that it’s not being done as well as it should. If it started consuming a lot of my time I’d probably seek out a service like yours. But right now it’s just a low-level risk so it’s not something for which I’m actively trying to find a solution. If someone approached me and offered me something compelling at a reasonable price point, I’d probably try it. But I’m not seeking it out. So you’ll have to come find me.

(I don’t use Digital Ocean, but I’m sure you can find people who do.)

I’d love to see a demo or some sample screenshots - what am I signing up for?

I’d like to see a free trial too if possible.

It’s difficult to provide a demo as it’s not a SaaS product, it’s all centred around myself providing a service for you. If your server goes down at 3am I am waking up to go fix the issue for you. As you can appreciate because of this it is also basically impossible for me to provide a free trial.

I think I’m relying a little too much on people knowing what managed hosting is, so I need to be clearer with the next iteration of my marketing site.

Cheers all.,

Absolutely. You should mention real people - engineers, getting up at 3am, I think it’s in there but I didn’t read the whole page thoroughly. :frowning:

Have you got any testimonials? Could you provide a report every month for clients (this would be a good thing to do anyway to remind them that you’ve got their back)? Then you can show the demo report to users. Even better a small dashboard where users can see their servers and a log of things that you’ve done would be good marketing.

Yes a monthly report is definitely something I am looking at doing, in fact that’s probably the best way to get users in the top of the funnel. I am also thinking of making a hybrid site between what I have now and a long-form sales page such as letsworkshop.com. This is all good feedback and I appreciate it all.


I’d suggest checking out what Dan Norris has done with his company WPCurve . They are doing something similar for WordPress, and his website does a good job of explaining their offering.