For this month’s Cool People interview, I’m featuring a long-time friend, Nancy, from OfBlue Hosting. Instead of sharing about life behind the scenes as a web hostess is like, I brought in someone else (because why not?). Nancy runs OfBlue with Isi, as well as her personal blog.
1. When did you join the OfBlue team, and what enticed you to do so?
Prior to joining OfBlue in mid-2012, I was giving out small hosting packages for free from my reseller package. I was enticed to join OfBlue because it gave me the chance to join a different ball game (paid hosting) and I get to fix things from the root level. For some reason, I enjoy configuring things around the WebHost Manager (WHM) interface. I choose not to take money but I am heavily paid through the experience gained from this whole hands-on experience.
2. What, if any, correlation is there between your career and web hosting?
Some of the things I do at work involves the same tools such as PuTTY and WinSCP while requiring understanding of command lines. I’ve used these tools in web hosting so I have a decent foundation when it comes to work. On the other hand, I am learning some neat security tricks for web at work and I try to apply that knowledge to strengthen the web server’s security. It’s definitely important to keep all scripts up to date, remove unnecessary scripts/files, and continuously develop robust security measures.
3. Describe a typical day/hour/etc. in which you devote time to OfBlue.
Typically, I’d check our client portal/e-mails for any tickets that need my attention. Otherwise, everything else I do on a typical day varies whether I have to take care of invoices, inactive accounts, look over some configuration on WHM, or performing an overall check to ensure the server is A-OK. I like to catch errors before it becomes a big issue.
4. How different is hosting as a web host vs. a hostee? Has your time as a hostess changed your perspective on the web hosting industry?
As a hostee, I didn’t need to worry about anything else outside of my domain because I’d expect my web host to take care of everything and keep things running. When things go wrong and I happen to be online, I’d ask about the server. As a hostess, I have to make sure everything is running because if something breaks, I have to fix it. I prefer to fix things myself rather than going to the VPS provider for a solution unless it’s really out of my hands. As time goes by, I realize that hosting is more than just running cPanel/WHM and assigning accounts to people… A lot of preventative measures need to be in place to stop script kiddies from messing up the server! Another important thing I learned is that things don’t happen instantly. Sometimes, I would think that a certain issue would take a couple of minutes to fix but end up spending an hour or two fixing it. I prefer long term solutions over short term ones ;).
5. What is the most stressful part of running a web hosting business?
I think the most stressful part is when an urgent ticket/e-mail comes in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping. If the notification happens to wake me up, I’d stay up to tend to the matter. I suppose this is stressful because I rather sleep but can’t sleep on the fact that someone is waiting for me to do something.
6. Is there anything you wish people knew about hosting before they purchased it?
Things don’t happen instantly and hosting is not perfect 100% of the time. There are times when there’s a hold up for whatever reason (e.g. chain of actions before a resolution is met) and people have to be somewhat reasonable. At the same time, it shouldn’t be acceptable if it takes 3 or more days for a host to give the first reply or get something simple done (e.g. unsuspending an account even though it’s already paid for). Minor mistakes and errors (that are non-urgent) happen. There’s no need to flip out if the invoices are sent 3 weeks in advance or an accidental overdue invoice was sent.