Ribbet is a browser-based photo editor application created and run by Ben Meisner from Sidney, Australia. People with photos for travel or for business, can upload the photograph, fix it, optimize it, apply various filters or create collages. They can do that in their browser without downloading anything. The entire service relies on the backend which is hosted through Liquid Web. More recently Ribbet is developing mobile apps for Android, iPhone and iPad with a more modern look to bring it into the 21st century. The new design is based on a lot of user feedback and designer input. Ben Meisner has led this effort for the past year and a half and it’s about ready to launch. There have been more than 1.5 million users who have registered to use the site. You can also edit photos without registering or you can become a premium user for $29.95 per year. That unlocks all the features and gives you unlimited editing history which means you can open up your collages and photos years later and update the text or change the photos and it’s all stored online in the cloud. This system uses online storage for photos and also a separate server for the database. Ben explained that, “Every day of web traffic is like a wave and the peak time occurs during the afternoon and evening in the United States. So the system requires a load balancer and two web servers to handle the peak load of traffic. The servers are completely scalable. The plan this year is to market the product more and as Ribbet grows they can easily scale the service to more servers”.
Saving Money with Unreliable Hosting Means Frustration In the beginning, Ben found that some web hosting vendors did not deliver. He explained, “I was using a fairly inexpensive web host and to me the reliability of the service was absolutely critical. When push came to shove and I had an issue I was speaking to a support person who did not have technical expertise. Just trying to explain the issue and convince them that there was a problem drove me to a level of frustration”. “I realize that you can’t put a price on your web host. Even if you have to pay double the entire year, for that one moment when you have a problem and you need support, if you can get what you need it’s worth every cent. I realized that I would never again go with a cheap web hosting solution. I’ll go with a reliable web hosting solution regardless of the price,” Ben concluded. Ben said, “Liquid Web is the ultimate example of being able to speak with people with technical expertise. Every time you get on support you’re speaking with someone who has an intimate knowledge of Linux and the types of common problems with firewalls. You’re not speaking with someone who’s working off a script. That’s invaluable because you can save stress and come to a solution quickly”. “I’d say that’s the most frustrating things in our modern life, when you have a problem and you’re dealing with someone who is unable to help and they’re unable to understand. When you’re trying to implement a solution that is vital to your business and to your state of mind, then that’s unacceptable. It’s beyond frustrating; it’s enough to drive you crazy,” said Ben.
Ben Meissner’s Thoughts on Liquid Web Advantages Liquid Web has transparency in its pricing model. Ben explained it, “You can get on Liquid Web website and you can compare servers and get a really good idea of how much things are going to cost. I dealt with another large US hosting provider. They’re also very good but their pricing model is not transparent. I couldn’t be satisfied in my mind that I was paying a fair price because you have to discuss your requirements they come up with a quote for you. That’s fine but you can’t optimize your set up to get the best price because you don’t understand how their pricing works. With Liquid Web that transparency was very important to me. With Liquid Web you can adjust RAM and other parts of the server and you see what effect it’s having on the pricing”.
Dealing with the Perfect Server Migration Migration is never going to be straightforward. Ben said, “I’m a perfectionist and I’m not willing to do a migration and switch it over and hope for the best. I’ll spend a lot of time testing, a lot of time checking that every last thing works before pulling the trigger and doing the switch. I’m not to accept a few hours downtime. I want to switch and I want to see only a few minutes downtime”. “We didn’t switch from a cloud platform to the Liquid Web dedicated server because we had hit the limit on resources. It was actually made because the Linux operating system was reaching its end of life and I was going to have to migrate to a new machine. I decided to move to the Liquid Web dedicated because it would give me some benefits that the cloud platform couldn’t give me. Since migrating my business to the new server it’s been completely seamless,” said Ben. “When I migrated a few months ago from a cloud platform to the Liquid Web dedicated servers, the migration team was unbelievably good. They made it so that I could remove all the technical and hardware issues out of my hair. The Liquid Web support made me feel like they were my team with deep and incredible knowledge. I wouldn’t say that the migration was easy, but it was as easy as it could be”. “I would say that Liquid Web will keep working with you until you reach a level of satisfaction. Their mission is to make you happy. They will continue to work with you to create a server infrastructure and a level of stability that you’re satisfied with. They go above and beyond what you would expect. I’m part of the enterprise service with Liquid Web and I have a helper, Alex. That is really a special offering from Liquid Web to have created that enterprise service. It means that when I contact Liquid Web I get the elite enterprise team who are best-of-breed technicians,” said Ben.