Nexcess is a truly managed, high-performance cloud solution built to optimize Magento, WooCommerce, and WordPress sites, stores, and applications. Jim Geiger, the CEO of Nexcess, kindly agreed to share some information about the company, how it evolved, and how he envisions the future of the industry.
Please describe the story behind Nexcess: What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?
For more than 23 years, we’ve been serving & supporting small businesses and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them.
Nexcess was founded in 2000, in a garage with a handful of clients and the goal of building fast hosting for the most powerful eCommerce and content applications. They grew into a global hosting platform known for deep eCommerce hosting expertise and a passion for helping their customers.
Today, they are the trusted leader in open-source eCommerce with data centers around the world that deliver performance, reliability, auto-scaling, and management control through our best-in-class open stack cloud platform. As a point of pride, Magento was created on Nexcess servers and we built the first managed WooCommerce offering. We are known for continuous innovation, modern technology, a scalable platform, and access to world-class eCommerce and technical expertise.
We help merchants and digital agencies of all sizes start, manage, and expand their online businesses. We have a product for every project and comprehensive management for sites and stores of every size including our newest product, StoreBuilder, the fastest and easiest way to build a store on WordPress.
In 2019, Nexcess joined the Liquid Web family of brands. Liquid Web (High-Performance Managed Hosting), Nexcess (Digital Commerce Cloud), and StellarWP (WordPress Software and Tools) have more than 500,000+ sites under management and support over 175,000 paying customers and 2.5 Million+ free version software users. We’re purpose-built to deliver software, solutions, and managed services that help small businesses make money online. And, together, we are developing the product and open-source platform capabilities that SMB customers and their developers have been asking for.
What services do you offer?
Nexcess is a fully managed, high-performance cloud solution built to optimize Magento, WooCommerce, and WordPress sites, stores, and applications. Our offerings include high-quality cloud hosting, premium software plugins, and site management tools.
Our fully Managed Hosting experience provides infrastructure management that keeps hosting secure and up to date and comes with built-in monitoring that alerts customers when there is a problem with performance. Customers can count on faster speeds, stronger security, inherent scalability, and help when they need it.
We’re known for our fully-featured Magento offering and leadership in WordPress-specific solutions that help sites and stores of all sizes sell on WordPress and build a website as well as WordPress hosting for agencies. For SMBs or agencies that want to build with multiple applications, we offer Flexible Cloud Hosting.
Who are your typical customers, and what do you think is the main challenge that your product solves for them?
Our customers are SMBs and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them. Ultimately, our customer is the online business; however, well over half of them come to us through a “Web Creator” – someone building sites and stores for that end business. And a good portion of our Agency customers not only build sites but maintain them for their clients.
What differentiates our customers is the spectrum of technical depth and their “desire to tinker with tech” and why we have built a wide product portfolio that allows them to choose the product that best matches how they want to build and manage.
What they have in common is that their livelihood is earned through online sites and stores.
And at the end of the day, they all need a secure, highly reliant, highly performant, easy to maintain an online presence that makes them money – with the expertise to help them when things go wrong (it is technology after all).
And we’re here to do that. Our mission is to help them make money online
What is unique about Nexcess?
Nexcess is the market leader in curated, Open-Source solutions. Open-source gives creators and SMBs the most flexibility at a very cost-effective price point, engaging and leveraging the very broad ecosystem of the communities that support these solutions. Our differentiation here is that we have packaged these solutions with our cloud platform and bundled value-added capabilities to not only ensure an optimized configuration for speed and scale, but features you can’t get anywhere else. For example, we offer a capability called visual compare that allows developers to actually see variations in their site before promoting changes to a live production version. We’ve also recently launched the ability for website owners and developers to check the performance of their plug-ins to monitor performance degradation over time which is critical for Web vitals and website speed.
Unlike other providers, we exclusively serve open-source websites. As I mentioned earlier. Magento, one of the most successful open-source eCommerce projects, was built from the ground up on Nexcess servers.
And, today, the customers that we attract and focus on are largely within the WordPress ecosystem – the world’s most dominant content and commerce management system powering over 43% of all online properties on the internet today.
The open-source nature of WordPress gives it a distinct advantage over closed SaaS platforms because it offers enormous flexibility, allows customers to own their own data and source code, and is surrounded by a vast community of resources focused on development and innovation.
We’ve placed our bet on open-source software and platforms. And we’re committed to fostering ongoing innovation with new features, curated solutions, and tools to help our customers realize the power that open-source provides.
How has COVID impacted your customers and business?
Covid was a catalyst for businesses to start or grow their business online. And we responded. We were there to help them make infrastructure decisions to meet their growing scale and security needs. To support the increasing movement of commerce online, we developed new products and services like WooCommerce Automated testing to enable eCommerce business owners to identify any cart, payment, or login problems affecting their sites, and Sales Performance Monitor to send merchants alerts on sales trends, giving them much-needed visibility and allowing them to get back on track if store sales are slowing down. We also launched StoreBuilder, an intelligent, no-code eCommerce solution that makes building a store on WordPress faster and easier.
At the other end of the spectrum, we did see some of our SMBs who were unable to remain in business through these unprecedented times. We did our best to help these businesses but certainly, our customer base is a reflection of the broader impact of Covid on SMBs globally.
As a company, we executed keeping our employees safe and healthy while we continued to serve the customers who were depending on us more than ever.
These have been remarkable times and we’ve been focused on doing the right thing and doing it as best as we can. I’m proud of the way we kept our customers and our employees at the forefront of our decision-making.
How do you envision the future of your industry?
As more and more customers adopted WordPress, we chose to build products to both simplify the experience and broaden the appeal to a less technical audience. In 2017, we launched our Managed Applications product category focused on providing a Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce product that largely abstracts hosting.
Our specific differentiation here is integrating WordPress with hosting that is optimized for speed and security, providing administration and performance tools we’ve built, and being surrounded by a support organization that knows both the platform and the application.
Combined, these allow customers to build, launch and maintain their online presence with confidence and ease. It also allows Web Creators to build, launch and manage multiple sites and stores across their client base.
The next stage in our strategic evolution is to further simplify and abstract the hosting and content management software (WordPress) to “SaaS-ify” the experience. We have acquired several of the world’s leading WordPress commerce software companies that provide purpose-built software – like online learning, online donations and giving, and online events. We are now leveraging these software assets to build cloud-based, wizard-driven sites and store-building capabilities. Think of what Shopify does – only we’re doing it on the WordPress Open-source platform giving us access to the vast WordPress community and ecosystem of software capabilities, designers, and developers.
In 2021, we launched our first SaaS-like customer experience for buying, building, and managing an online store with a product called Store Builder. And we’re set to launch additional SaaS-like products in 2022.
We intend to continue our market leadership in open-source solutions with a focus on where the WordPress ecosystem meets digital commerce.
Our “North Star” – our strategic vision, is to continue to simplify online commerce – in all of its forms – for new and existing online merchants, leveraging open-source solutions riding on our infrastructure, our software assets, our industry expertise, and our world-class technical support.