WebsitePlanet’s Marko Velimirovic had the pleasure of meeting Dennis Nind, a CEO of Brixly – one of the leading hosting providers in the UK. We spoke about their first steps, cybersecurity issues in the modern time, and how did the Coronavirus affect their business.
What is Brixly?
With an unbeatable level of passion, Brixly has fast become one of the UK’s leading hosting providers tailored for the reseller market. Brixly has proudly been awarded ‘Best Independent Web Hosting Provider 2020’.
Please describe the story behind the company: What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?
I had been designing and developing websites for around 12 years slowly progressing my career, knowledge, and experience. Starting as a designer, I progressed to full-stack development and eventually systems administration. As part of that career path, I proudly had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading brands in the e-commerce sector and throughout, I had first-hand experience with a wide variety of hosting platforms and services.
My wife and I had our first child back in 2014, at which point I realised I needed to step away from employment and move towards my long term goal of running something independently. With a huge amount of sleep deprivation, baby sick, nappy changes, and the typical pleasures that come with having children, I quickly realised that starting something new was somewhat ‘daunting’ to say the least!
With an outstanding level of support from my wife, I decided to leave my full-time position in place for freelance work, where I continued to build a small, but stable client base. Given my level of passion for the hosting industry, it was clear throughout the earlier stages of running the business that I had to build recurring, sustainable relationships with those clients to improve my own cashflow – the key to this was to provide those clients with fantastic management and SEO services backed by a fast, reliable and robust web hosting solution.
What I came to discover, however, was that the latter wasn’t quite as easy to source. High performance, reliable and secure web hosting was terminology frequently seen through the marketing collateral of most providers, but very few providers actually lived up to those expectations. Two things became quickly apparent…
– The hosting market was saturated with poor quality, overpriced, and unreliable hosting solutions
– The hosting market lacked ‘independency’, with almost all providers having undergone an acquisition to a larger group (such as HEG, or the Endurance Group)
Equally, the solutions I had found didn’t offer the ‘scalability’ I wanted in a platform, which would back my potential business growth. I wanted a hosting solution that was capable of delivering high-standards, irrespective of the number of accounts or clients we onboarded. Of course, there were a number of ‘Reseller Hosting’ providers, however, none seemed to match the standards I had come to experience in the past from more ‘enterprise-grade’ solutions.
This was the turning point, where I had come to realise there was a significant demand for reliable, fast, and secure hosting solutions specifically designed and tailored for the reseller market.
I then focused my attention on building our first server, where I devoted endless time, effort and expense to perfect the hosting platform which has helped shape the business of today. The stack was designed from the ground up to offer unbeatable performance at every angle, with the help and support from some of the greatest minds in the industry – almost every aspect of the machine was tweaked and refined to offer leading-edge technology, scalability, and unbeatable performance.
I deployed our first client on the machine with incredible success, then slowly moved all our hosted clients to that same infrastructure. What was at first a single virtual server, soon became a number of physical machines co-located in Coventry.
Today, Brixly now proudly hosts in excess of 250,000 domains for clients in 136+ countries, with hardware in London, UK, Germany and the USA. Our infrastructure and business are backed by a small, but incredibly efficient team of some of the industries brightest brains who deal with over 6,500 support inquiries monthly (whilst still retaining industry-leading response times and support SLA’s).
With an unbeatable level of passion, Brixly has fast become one of the UK’s leading hosting providers specifically tailored for the reseller market. We have also proudly been awarded ‘Best Independent Hosting Brand 2020’ by the Midlands Enterprise Awards.
Brixly remains a family-owned and operated business with an ongoing goal to provide enterprise-grade solutions to the reseller market at a standard nothing less than exceptional.
Would you say there is enough awareness of cybersecurity among the industry and the people you work with?
There isn’t nearly enough awareness in the industry, although I do believe the team here are fully aware (and certified) to advise and deal with the many cybersecurity risks of today.
Cybersecurity is vast becoming the primary concern for hosting providers of today, and throughout the years watching that development has been somewhat fascinating, and equally challenging for us all. In fact, this led to our recent restructure internally, where we implemented the award-winning ‘BitNinja’ security solution to our entire network.
This solution allows us to centralize the majority of our security to a single pane of glass. From here, we are able to monitor, track and analyse attacks in real-time, 24/7/365, regardless of the type of attack. With unparalleled protection from malicious IP addresses, and outstanding protection from malware we are now proud to say we offer one of the most secure hosting solutions on the market.
‘0-day’ attacks are another particular concern for hosting providers, which in most parts derive from malicious or infected code (in many cases, from open platforms such as WordPress). With our latest security implementation, we have the capability to find and detect these attacks in most cases, on complete auto-pilot. However, should we find malware that has gone undetected, we have the ability to publish those malware signatures publicly to the BitNinja service, and in return remove those infected files throughout our entire network near-instantaneously.
We are also in a roll-out phase of providing clients greater visibility on the attacks they receive (and are equally protected from) through an interface in our control panel.
All of this so far has allowed us to protect our network from approximately 175,000 infected files / malicious scripts, with 0 reported false-positives. Additionally, we have protected our clients from a huge 4,600,000 network-level attacks spanning just the past few months.
The combination of this technology, alongside our industry-leading DDoS protection, has allowed our clients to transparently benefit from one of the industry’s most secure hosting platforms available on the market today.
Which trends and technologies do you find to be particularly intriguing these days?
I find technology surrounding performance particularly intriguing and have monitored this sector very closely over the years. Within the Brixly hosting platform, we have built our own caching solution called ‘Bolt-Cache’, which has undergone extensive testing and comparison – still today, this has been unbeaten in terms of performance, even against the worlds leading technology stacks. We are able to provide this unparalleled level of performance, by allowing clients to serve their dynamic content as ‘static’, directly from RAM as opposed to disk-based storage.
This is also a technology that’s available to all clients and resellers, completely inclusive of their package without any additional fees.
On a more personal level, I find the topic of ‘open-source’ particularly fascinating. Open-source technology plays such a significant part in our technology stack, that I can only be thankful for the incredible, combined efforts of the thousands of developers who continue to contribute to such projects that allow us to provide a reliable, robust and secure platform that is second to none. It’s true, that combined effort is significantly more powerful than the mind of one individual!
How has COVID impacted your customers and business?
COVID has affected us all, some more significantly than others. In terms of the business, the biggest struggle has been seeing the financial difficulties many of our clients have faced – although fortunately, Brixly has remained relatively unaffected throughout.
I do feel that COVID has created some incredibly unfortunate circumstances worldwide, creating devastation, despair, and disaster – the losses people have suffered worldwide has been painful to watch and will take many a lifetime to recover. However, COVID has also brought inspiration, devotion, and dedication to both businesses and individuals worldwide who through circumstance, have been forced to review their opportunities in a different light.
How do you envision the future of your industry?
I do feel the industry has changed significantly over the past 12 months, and my expectations are that the industry will continue to thrive strength by strength. There have been many challenges and hurdles we have faced as hosting providers, but the demand will only continue to increase.