Heroic Web Hosting: DirectNIC vs. Katrina
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In the annals of disaster, Hurricane Katrina will go down in history. When people record the stories of those who heroically soldiered on against some of the worst conditions that could be thrown at them, New Orleans web hosting company DirectNIC will be featured prominently. While the conditions they faced were extreme, the way the company coped with them contains lessons for anyone running a web hosting business.
On Saturday, August 27, at 11:05 PM, a blog titled The Interdictor recorded one sentence: "Hmm. This could actually be a nasty storm." So began the amazing tale of the web hosting company that resolutely stayed up and continued to serve its customers through the worst hurricane to hit the southeastern United States in at least 13 years, possibly ever. The company and its people captured the imagination of the Internet, continuing to serve their customers and refusing to leave even when many others thought they were crazy to stay. What's more, they blogged about it, even showing live webcam pictures of what was going on.
DirectNIC was founded in 2000. They have been described as a midrange-priced web host. While a few people have given them bad reviews, most of their customers seem to be very satisfied with their service, giving the company four and five-star ratings. In particular, one customer spoke of their willingness to help him out with problems (which he described as "usually of my own making") into the wee hours. Already, we can see that this company is willing to go the extra mile.
According to Netcraft, DirectNIC is the eleventh largest domain name registration firm, with more than a million names registered. They are owned by Intercosmos Media Group, whose CEO is Sigmund Solares. Michael Barnett, DirectNIC's crisis manager, is the primary author of the web hosting company's blog, which is being tracked by close to 2000 (or more) people. And it's no wonder: that blog is the only source of continuous, on-the-spot news and commentary by people who are actually living in New Orleans, trying to survive, carry on their business, and do right by their customers. Techweb News described it as "a once-in-a-lifetime account of an American city coming apart."
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