Turning your passion into a successful business is a wonderful way to become an entrepreneur. Johnny Nguyen, the founder of WPJohnny and JohnnyVPS, walked that exact path when he created his boutique WordPress development agency and web hosting service.
Johnny started his career as a web developer, specializing in building custom WordPress sites, themes, and plugins. He built his own servers from scratch, hosting all of the sites he built. Johnny learned so much about speed optimization from hosting high-traffic websites that he decided to write a blog to share his expertise. Soon, people from all over the world were seeking out Johnny and his team, asking if the Los Angeles-based company could host their WordPress sites.
And that’s how JohnnyVPS became a web hosting provider, now serving clients on nearly every continent. “It’s not what we set out to do in the beginning,” admitted Johnny, “but we had a knack for doing well what others were doing poorly.” Johnny and his team of WordPress developers and server administrators have become known as “The Speed Experts” who can build, optimize, and host WordPress sites that handle all the traffic you can throw at them.
Johnny is grateful for the unexpected turn in his original path. “The coolest thing about this business,” he said, “is that we get to meet the most interesting, visionary people and get a sneak peek of the future before it arrives. It’s truly incredible to see their drive, their passion, what inspires them, and what they’re doing.”
JohnnyVPS has been running in-house servers for its clients for over a decade now. A few years ago, with business booming, JohnnyVPS sought out a cloud hosting partner who could meet its standards. That search led the company to Linode.
“We struggled to find a provider that could handle our traffic and troubleshoot issues with the kind of expertise and responsiveness we wanted,” recalled Johnny. “Most lacked the technical expertise to put together reliable service 24 hours a day. I tried so many services. I got frustrated that no one offered what I needed, and I couldn’t go even one year with a single provider before switching. Finally, one of my developer friends recommended Linode. I tried Linode and fell in love. They’ve been a part of our team ever since.”
Johnny says one of the first things that set Linode apart is its Cloud Manager user interface, “which is ridiculously easy to use. Linode’s UI is perfect. It’s clean. It’s not overly cutesy, like some I’ve seen that look fine if you have two servers, but if you have 60 servers, it becomes this child’s flipbook where you’re flipping through pages and pages of servers, and everything’s all big and cluttered, wasting space.”
“AWS—you log in, and the UI looks like a cockpit, with 99% of it being clutter you don’t need. It’s anxiety-producing, or as someone described it to me, ‘So complicated that it’s almost simpler to go build something yourself.'”
Now, 95% of Johnny’s hosted sites run on Linode. His company serves clients representing a wild variety of industries and sizes. “On one extreme, we might have a customer that is a first-time blogger or brand new business. On the other extreme, we may have a client that is hosting 80 content-driven sites in industries I’ve never heard of, collectively pulling 60 million hits a month,” he said.
Regardless of the customer’s size, JohnnyVPS approaches each client with the same service philosophy—”performance over profit”—a philosophy Linode shares.
“At the end of the day, I care about my clients. I care about performance. I need something I have confidence in, that I know will run reliably against all the cloud providers out there, across all data centers, all times of the day, all months of the year,” said Johnny. “With clients all over the world, we’ve deployed on every Linode data center, and we’ve pushed them to the limit. We also constantly compare Linode to others. Because our clients use so many different providers, it helps us continue to monitor how different providers are performing. I’ve seen them all, and if there had been anybody faster, reliably faster, I would’ve switched in a heartbeat. Linode is still the easy winner.”
JohnnyVPS is so confident in Linode’s service that it became an official Linode Partner in 2020. “The Partner discounts and having a dedicated manager appealed to me because we’re growing, and I’m going to have questions about things I’ve never needed before. It is also mutually beneficial to make our relationship more official because Linode is so well respected and recognized.”