Changing from the inside out

Bytemark’s web site has just undergone a subtle rebuild. You might not see the difference yet, but it points to some changes that I’m excited about.

We started with a technical problem: the front-end team painstakingly ported the site from Middleman to Hugo because it used to take 30 seconds to preview any change to a page. Now it takes less than a second, Steve, Kim & Jon don’t need to make tea between refreshes.

Our research said you came to our site to spin up a server, or check whether the network had broken (you knew this! we didn’t!). So we listened! And now there’s now a new slimline header with those functions on it, which took weeks of discussion and prototyping.

You might spot our ISO27001 certificate, which appeared at the bottom of the page after months fine-tuning our security processes. If you’re a Bytemark customer who provides services for government or finance, we hope you like it! (if you’re a hacker, watch out, our business processes are now certified).

How about a revamped documentation section? We took a scalpel to our ancient technical archive, some of which dates to 2002. It’s gone from being uneditable and barely relevant to a firm and accurate foundation. We’ll keep improving it.

Power users might like to see a first alpha release of our new cross-platform command-line client to automate your hosting (We ♥ Go). So if you like your hosting like you like your casserole restaurants (fast & automated), go and give Telyn your feedback on the forum.

We kicked away our ancient control panel  in favour of our more modern, API-driven rewrite (gamely tagged as “panel-beta” – for 18 months). Now you can now manage domains reliably, and download invoices – we heard you, customers who answered our 2015 survey (I know, and 2014, and possibly 2013).

So those are little changes but with huge amounts under the surface; they all deserve their own top billing, and they’ll get that.

But if you’ve been watching Bytemark for a few years, I’ve got to talk to you about the name “BigV” with a serious face on.

When we trialled our new hosting platform back in 2011, we separated BigV from the Bytemark name. Our code was all-new, the Bytemark name felt personal, and maybe a little bit messy. So it seemed like a great statement of intent – nothing old, all new, all exciting! We sold the new thing under its exciting codename of BigV.

But “BigV” was always a tough name to market, I just didn’t notice at the time. It pronounces horribly. It split our slim marketing efforts at a time when we had no web development expertise in the company. And to some people, it just sounded rude.

Four years on, BigV supervises around 3000 servers. We have more coming online every day. Our sales team trust it to sell to our most demanding managed customers. And we’re working towards integrating all our network services in one simple experience, all from this “BigV” thing we started in 2011.

Once we saw this experimental thing had become Bytemark’s whole future, we decided to ditch the awkward name and just sell “Bytemark cloud servers“. That’s the whole announcement – yes we’re Bytemark and we sell servers! (This is not the marketing department speaking).

That’s why you’ll also see the term “cloud servers” replace other names for our most popular product. The bigv.io site will disappear after a few more weeks, as we focus on making more customers for Bytemark (which is what all you lovely customers have done over the years).

We think that’s a clearer proposition, even if you hate the word cloud and don’t know what it means. But now you know what we think it means – and we think you knew, really you did, but were just too polite to tell us. So welcome to all Bytemark customers, new and old – enjoy your cloud servers!

(If you’re a UK developer who’s never heard of Bytemark, welcome aboard! We sell hosting in York & Manchester, built the whole stack & data centre ourselves, and you can have your first server online in a few minutes – sign up for a free trial).