Please note: The following is guest blog post written by Faris Raouf. Faris is the Managing Director of Cymru 1, an ISP based in Wales in the United Kingdom. In this guest blog, Faris gives insight into how he turned from Technical Journalist to Internet entrepreneur, and how Parallels Plesk Panel has helped him achieve success in the hosting market.
Cast your mind back to the late 1990s: the Internet was still in its infancy, very few small and medium sized enterprises had websites, and there was no broadband - at least not in the UK, where slow and expensive dial-up was the only option at the time.
Back then I was working as a technical journalist, with over a million words under my belt for magazines such as PC Magazine, PC Direct and Linux Magazine. I knew the huge potential the Internet had to change the way we live and the way we do business. I also I knew it would allow anyone with enough motivation and energy to reach not just for the sky but for the stars themselves, and I wanted some Internet stardust badly. But how?
Eventually I came up with the idea of forming a company that would provide affordable Internet access and also offer inexpensive website design along with business-class website hosting and email. The aim was to make money not just by using the power of the Internet but by selling access to it as well. Living in Wales at the time, I decided to give the company a distinctively Welsh flavour.
And so, almost exactly 10 years ago, on December the 13th 2001, I launched one of Wales’ first ISPs. It was called “Cymru 1” (Cymru being the Welsh word for Wales, and is pronounced “come-ree” rather than “sim-roo”).
I had expected the Internet access side of things to be the main source of income, but it was the website design and hosting that proved to be the most successful part of the business. This was partly due to the fact that there were, and still are, scores of small businesses clamouring for affordable websites and hosting to go with them. A large proportion of our success, however, was also thanks to Plesk.
When planning the business, I realised that we needed some form of web-based control panel that allowed us to easily set up website hosting and email for customers, and also allowed them to make changes to their accounts without having to call us every five minutes.
Finding something suitable proved to be very hard at first, because I didn’t want any old control panel – I needed one that was easy to install and administer and could be absolutely relied on. But after taking a look at Plesk, which I think was only at version 2.0 at the time, I knew I’d found the right solution. It did everything we needed right out of the box, was very easy for both the administrator and the customer to use, and it didn’t go wrong for no apparent reason (unlike another panel I’d been using at the time). We loved it and our customers loved it too – and still do.
As a company, Cymru 1 has grown and evolved significantly since those early days, and Plesk has grown and evolved with us. Together with Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, it forms the core of our hosting platform and has grown from the relatively simple turn of the Millennium product into what I consider to be the most sophisticated and feature-rich hosting control panel in existence today. And that’s just Plesk 10.3 - at the time of writing the release of Plesk 10.4 is imminent, and if you’ve not looked at the new feature it offers then you have a real treat in store!
Find out more about Cymru 1 at www.cymru1.net