We have participated in WordCamp US 2023 and interacted with various sponsors.
We interviewed Saulius Lazaravičius, Head of Product at Hostinger, a hosting server provider based in Lithuania, to discuss his approach to service development and WordPress.
Right : Saulius Lazaravičius/Head of Product at Hostinger
Left：Hidenori Ishikawa/Manager, Planning and Development Department, Prime Strategy
What services does Hostinger provide?
We offer comprehensive online services that empower our users to establish a strong online presence with ease. Our services encompass website hosting, domain name registration, email solutions, and more. It’s an all-in-one platform designed to facilitate online business, advertising, and community engagement. We provide everything you need to thrive in the digital world.
In addition to these core services, we prioritize security and performance. We ensure that your website is not only hosted but also kept up-to-date and secure, incorporating the latest WordPress updates and enhancements. Our mission is to handle the technical aspects so you can focus on your online success.
Are all of your services available on your website? Can end users access and execute everything they need solely through the web and its user interface?
Yes, we offer onboarding experiences, including options for different Content Management Systems (CMS), with WordPress being the most popular choice. Depending on the type of website selected, users will be provided with the appropriate plug-ins and guided through the setup process via easy-to-use screens.
We also provide AI tools for onboarding, which can generate websites quickly, minimizing the time required for website creation.
Most tasks can be completed online on our platform, even development, without the need for a local WordPress environment.
We also provide AI tools for onboarding, which can generate websites quickly, minimizing the time required for website creation. Most tasks can be completed online on our platform, even development, without the need for a local WordPress environment.
When end users want to enable SSL or obtain a certification, can this be done entirely on the website?
Yes, it can all be accomplished seamlessly with Hostinger. When you acquire a domain name through our package, you automatically receive various certificates.
We handle everything for our users, which is what Hostinger does. So, you wouldn’t need to worry about SSL, domain, mail, and security. It’s all taken care of.
Regarding WordPress itself, is it also managed by you, or is the management of WordPress primarily the responsibility of the user?
We offer managed local hosting services, including WordPress installation, migration, security, and performance optimization, all managed by us. Our services also include integration of AI tools designed for WordPress. Users are primarily responsible for configuration, while we provide support through various tools, tutorials, and online resources, enabling users to create websites and generate content using our AI tools.
So, is the end user going to develop the website using the WordPress admin console?
Yes, that’s an option. They can also develop it using our platform’s admin portal, or even create it in a local machine environment with the assistance of our AI tools. We provide a variety of choices. However, for users who aren’t very tech-savvy or aren’t developers themselves, they can simply use our templates.
One of the challenges that end users often face is managing WordPress updates. When WordPress releases updates, there might be changes or tests required in their testing environment. So, are WordPress updates entirely managed by Hostinger?
Users can choose which minor or major version to update automatically through our WordPress warranty. However, even with automatic updates, they’ll receive email notifications to stay informed. We proactively notify users of new theme and plugin updates, but these aren’t done automatically to avoid potential disruptions to their WordPress environments. We provide a backup feature for users to safeguard their websites before updates. If any issues arise, they can easily revert to the backed-up version.
We’re also planning to introduce a feature that automatically handles security-related updates, demonstrating our commitment to enhancing website security for our users.
So, these automatic updates for vulnerabilities, are they already there or is this something you are planning to do?
These automatic updates, yes, they are something we plan, it’s in development right now, so maybe October / November…
You’re heavily involved in assisting your clients with website security?
Yes, indeed. One of our core missions is to support WordPress users in staying online, conducting online businesses, and reaching broader audiences. We’re committed to ensuring WordPress remains secure, fast, and equipped with the necessary features for the future.
You mentioned two things: one was about using AI to easily generate a website, and the other was securing the website. These two aspects are both important, but which one is your company primarily focused on or providing solutions for?
Well, it’s challenging to pick one over the other because we are dedicated to both. Security is at the core and is our primary focus, but we’ve also recognized that many users worldwide struggle with WordPress when trying to create a website. AI tools make it easier for them by offering templates and pre-configured websites, enabling more people to enhance their online visibility and create successful websites. So, both aspects of using AI to simplify website generation and emphasizing security are essential to us, and it’s hard to choose between them.
Do you have a plan to improve this AI for WordPress?
Yes, we have a plan, and we are continuously working on it, keeping up with the latest developments. We believe that there are increasing opportunities that could help users create websites more efficiently. So, we are constantly working on enhancements, including AI for WordPress and an AI page generator. Our vision is to offer AI solutions that can accelerate development for any business data the user might have.
Involvement with the WordPerss Community
The next question concerns your company’s involvement with the WordPress community. Aside from sponsorship, what other activities does your company engage in?
Well, we actively participate in “Five for the Future.” Why do we do this? We have a strong belief in WordPress and its success, as well as the success of the WordPress community. In addition to organizing and sponsoring events, we take part in various activities such as assisting with documentation and even contributing to core development.
This is our second year in the community and we are only now expanding our presence and we’ll see how it continues in the future.
So you do some contributions to WordPress here as well?
Yes, in WordPress and among our company’s employees, we allocate their time and utilize their hours to contribute. So, yes, we are contributing both internally and externally.”
In Japan, there are cultural differences compared to Europe and the U.S., and I felt that the relationship between the community and the company was different than in Europe and the U.S.
I wouldn’t necessarily differentiate between Europe, the US, and Japan, as it depends on individual preferences and a company’s values. For instance, our company prioritizes the customer experience, with our top principle being “customer comes first.” To achieve that, we believe in getting closer to our customers, which means engaging in conversations, participating in community events, and truly understanding our customers and potential customers.
Well, every company engages in some level of commercial activity, but from our perspective, there’s potential for alignment and collaboration in everything. I hope that more companies, especially those involved with WordPress or benefiting from it, will join forces to strengthen the community. I’m optimistic about this happening in the future
Yes, our company shares a similar vision. We are an open-source company, and our goal is to collaborate with the open-source community to foster mutual growth and development for both our company and the broader business community. So, in that regard, it seems we are aligned.
One more thing, do you have end users or clients in Japan or elsewhere in Asia?
Indeed, we do. We have a website hosting service with a “.jp” domain, and I believe we even offer our website in the Japanese language. While I can’t recall the specific numbers off the top of my head, I hope our conversation today will help bring more awareness and inquiries from people interested in learning about what we offer and how we’re contributing to user-based growth in Japan.
Are you actively working to expand your user base in Asia?
We don’t have specific targeted initiatives for Asia or Europe. Our primary focus is on continually improving our product to be the best it can be and spreading our message worldwide. As a result, we have customers in Asia, Europe, South America, and North America. Our belief is that if you have a high-quality product and genuinely assist your customers in achieving success, your reach will naturally expand. We’re excited about the prospect of reaching users all around the world.
Message to users in Japan
Do you have any message for Japanese users and the Japanese WordPress community?
Well, be confident in what you are doing and try to connect with more people in the world. Showcase your strengths, learn from the world and then you’ll experience from the world open-source community, and you can share your experiences with others.
The beauty of the open-source community lies in the diversity of people who work with WordPress. It’s wonderful to meet new individuals, exchange ideas, and increase the chances of everyone’s success. So, keep an open mind and join us, become a part of the global community. That would be my suggestion and recommendation.
And this exactly such a case where we meet, and we are from Japan, and you are from…
…Lithuania. I’m from Lithuania.It’s worth noting that there isn’t always a strong connection between Japanese companies, European companies, and communities, especially in Europe.
It’s a pleasure for us to meet you, and I believe we can foster more connections, collaborate further, exchange experiences, and work together in the future.
So pleasure for us to meet you. Thank you so much.
We had a great opportunity to meet with the Hositinger team, who are committed to customer service and contributing to the WordPress community, and it was a very valuable time for us as developers of KUSANAGI and contributors to the OSS.
Moving forward, we aim to further strengthen these connections and continue to work earnestly towards creating products and services that resonate globally.