This latest installment in the "Meet the Resellers" series features Darko Bijelic, Chief DNS Administrator at PLUS Hosting, Croatia's leading hosting company. PLUS are a brand-new Reseller and we recently helped them manage the migration of thousands of domain names into their OpenSRS account.
Darko Bijelic, PLUS Hosting
James McNally (JM): How long has PLUS Hosting been doing business and what are all the services you offer to your customers?
Darko Bijelic (DB): PLUS Hosting primarily provides web hosting and related services, including domain registration, dedicated and VPS server rentals, colocation, audio/video streaming, SSL certificates…basically everything that web hosting companies usually offer.
PLUS Hosting was founded at the beginning of 2001 by Adriano Plisko. At the time, there were only a few companies in Croatia offering hosting-related services, so Adriano, already a proven business visionary and entrepreneur at just 28 years of age, decided to start a web hosting business. It is very interesting how our company grew from a small provider with none of our own servers into the largest hosting provider in the country with more than 50 of our own servers.
JM: Any interesting stories from your company's history?
DB: In 2001, hardware and cable-pair were extremely expensive for a startup hosting company, so PLUS Hosting was reselling hosting space originally bought from FastHosts in the UK. After the initial boost, the company decided to rent dedicated servers from Burst.net in the US. However, due to some unfortunate things that happened to Burst.net, we soon decided to switch to dedicated servers from ThePlanet, who are today probably the world's biggest provider of hosting servers.
We used ThePlanet's equipment for a few years, until we got a deal with Optima, one of the largest local ISPs, who partnered with us, and provided us with acceptably-priced high-speed Internet access. From then until now, we have used our own servers located in a facility in Zagreb (Croatia's capital city) and we migrated all our clients from ThePlanet's servers to our own servers there. Now we have more than 50 servers under our own direct administration.
JM: How did you personally get into the Internet business?
DB: I am 29 years old and have worked in the domain and DNS business for more than 8 years now. I have worked with PLUS Hosting almost from the begining: I joined at the end of 2001. Although the company always had a need for Linux/Windows administrators, I always had an affinity for domains and DNS, so I have stuck to that. I have always liked seeing what kind of domains people register, and what they do with them. I also liked to compete with domainers around the world, waiting for domains to "drop" and registering them before somebody else. That was before companies like Snapnames and Pool.com even existed. DNS is the basic backbone of the Internet, and without it, the Internet wouldn't exist as it does today. And you always see and find something new in the DNS world, which is why I like my job so much.
The story of how I got here where I am is pretty interesting also. I was at college and was participating in some marketing projects (I actually graduated with a degree in marketing, not something more technical) for my Faculty of Economics, and one day my marketing professor said it would be nice to have a web page. I saw an ad that a local company was offering free web hosting for projects. So I went there and met Adriano. A few months later, he called me and asked me if I would be interested in working with him. I agreed and here we are now. :)
Roman Amphitheater, Pula, Croatia
JM: Where are you located and what makes it such a great place to do business?
DB: PLUS Hosting is located in Pula, Croatia. It is a nice city of about 60,000 people, with a famous Roman Arena. It is located on the Istrian peninsula, so we have the Adriatic Sea all around us. :) It's assumed that for business, it is always better to be in a larger city, because of infrastructure, potential employees, etc., but at PLUS, we've never thought of it as a disadvantage being located in a smaller town. We have our facilities and servers in the large city of Zagreb, but we administer everything remotely. If we're ever needed on-site, we can be there in less than three hours.
I understand many of your readers might not have even heard of Croatia, or don't know where it is. Maybe all they know is that a war took place here 15 years ago. Many people abroad wonder if we even have electricity, but actually Croatia is a pretty modern country. Some things could be better, but hey…come and see for yourself! By the way, Elton John had a concert yesterday right here in the Roman Arena, 50 meters from our offices!
JM: I understand you're a brand-new OpenSRS Reseller. What made you decide to switch and how has your experience been so far?
DB: Yes, we are brand-new OpenSRS resellers. Being part of OpenSRS is something new for us and we are still adapting to it. We are still implementing the API on our system, transferring our domains to OpenSRS, and if I may say, we still have a lot of work to do. I am very grateful for all the help we've received from OpenSRS staff, especially from Claire Lam and Ben Reuss. I am amazed how they notice everything I ask for or want.
The story of how we decided to switch to OpenSRS is pretty straightforward. Our former registrar (I wouldn't like to mention its name) got in legal trouble for alleged cybersquatting. Although they were our partners for years, and we never had any problems with them, we realized that we needed a reliable company to take care of our domains. So we decided to change providers for domain registration. At almost the exact time we started searching for a new provider, Ben Reuss and Marco Zuliani from OpenSRS called me and offered me great terms. I already knew that OpenSRS was one of the world's biggest reseller-friendly registrars, but with such great prices (and free WHOIS privacy which makes me happy the most), I just couldn't refuse. So our search for a new partner was over pretty fast. And I am happy we decided to join OpenSRS.
JM: What can we do to make the relationship stronger?
DB: Since we are still a new reseller, I don't have any particular suggestions. Everything is perfect. I am just happy our domains are secure, and don't need anything else :)