Insight, advice, news and chit chat

We love our hosting company so much, we blogged about them

We have a long standing relationship with 3DPixelNet. A brilliant hosting company who match us with their incredibly high levels of service. And while we are promoting them in this post, just know, there isn’t an ulterior motive. We aren’t getting a discount from them from writing this post. We just want to show you a little bit of insight into what it takes to run a fantastic business which is based on taking care of servers where people’s websites and emails live.

3DPixelNet is made up of 3 geeks who really know their way around a server – Alan, Simon, and Alvaro. I asked my good friend Alan, director of 3DPixelnet (and also my “Twitter godfather – he was the first person who got me onto Twitter back in ’08) some questions about his wonderful business.

1. What are the most common questions you get from clients?

A. Clients are rightly concerned about their email these days. Despite the proliferation of social media, email is still the bread and butter of inter company communication. If they can’t get their email, they have issues. Clients want their email on the machines and on their mobile devices all at the same time.

2. What do you think our clients like about your service?

A. I think people want their queries answered quickly, and we do that. Our average response time is well under 15 minutes. I think people understand that things can happen, but are happy that someone is there to help.

3. How would you describe your relationship with TLD?

A. Excellent of course! I think our companies are of mutual benefit to each other. Top Left Design know that 3DPixel is backing them up in all their security and hosting needs.

4. Is TLD typical of the types of business you partner with?

A. As a hosting company we host a lot of web design companies who sell services to their own clients. As such, we are an extension of their service and we are proud that they think we compliment their own ethos. Top Left Design is a good example of this. Top Left Design are not like other design companies though insofar as they take their customer support to new levels. Not a plug at all! But it does makes us consider our own customer support which I’m sure has benefited.

We host a whole range of interesting clients, from secret underground dining experiences to eCommerce music retailers to churches and schools. Each client has a different requirement from their online presence.

5. What else does your company do besides taking care of TLD so well, and taking care of servers?

A. A huge amount of our time at the moment is spent developing our own in-house technology to ensure smooth operation of the servers and hosting environment. We also are pushing our website which helps people who have had their websites hacked. It’s a good insight in to what exploits are out there, and it’s a great way to introduce ourselves as a company who can get things done. A high percentage of sites we fix move to our hosting services!

6. Do you need special qualifications to work at your company?

A. The things we do, they don’t teach in school or University. You need to be a very unique person (nerd) really which can be surprisingly hard to find. Aside from that, you need to be good at nerf gun fights!

As the technology industry progresses very quickly, we need to spend a fair chunk of our time investigating new ways of doing things. Motivation about technology is a must for anyone working here.

7. Tell us some stats about your server kits? (how many servers/gigabytes/locations/how often backup/etc)

A. We use world class Supermicro server chassis and motherboards and build the rest of the systems ourselves, specific to our customers needs. No to off-the-shelf Dell servers! We use an obscure, but high performance Linux operating system called Slackware and have built our own control panel system to go on top of it as common control panels don’t cut the mustard for what we need.

We were one of the first companies to start putting SSDs (Solid State Drives) in servers because of their high performance and low power usage.

For managed customers, we back up every day and have 28 days worth of backups in an offsite datacentre location. Our primary base is in Manchester, however we are seriously considering expanding into London in 2013. We have several systems in the USA for redundancy.

I can’t put a finger on how much data we have, but rest assured it’s an awful lot!

8. Any cool clients/projects you want to highlight

A. Off the top of my head, the ladies amongst your readership may be interested to know we host Soap&Glory, which is a well known cosmetics brand. The entrepreneurs amongst the readers will have heard about Zapper who recently left the Dragon’s Den with the highest ever investment of £250,000 from a single Dragon. Music Lovers will be familiar with The Warehouse Project ( ). On a personal note I am trying to get some benefit from hosting TheWhiskyLounge ( ) who operate whisky tastings throughout the UK. Close to my heart!

As for projects, we’re currently trying to get ahead of the curve and roll out IPv6 to our entire network. IPv6 is the next ‘upgrade’ of the internet designed to replace IPv4. ‘Clients may be familiar with an IP address which looks like however these are swiftly running out. IPv6 addresses look like 2a03:f2c0:0:65:0:1:1:1 (not easy to remember!). Progressive companies are converting or upgrading to IPv6 in order to be in a advantageous position ahead of time. Put it this way, if you receive an email from a address via Top Left Design, it’s most likely over this ‘new’ IPv6 protocol!

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