This page is filled with some pretty awesome information about us, like who we are, where we came from, and why we can get the job done; but it's a bit of a read. If you would rather our condensed, more corporate focused About Us page with a list of services and fancy pictures, you have come to the wrong place. Now, onto the good stuff!
Where it all began
I would like to start this account of by noting that this is my personal recollection of events surrounding the company and it's direction. First, allow me to introduce myself; I am owner and lead developer here at Direct Web Solutions, Darryn Fehr. This company has been my brain child since I was still in high-school, and it has come a long way since it's initial conception back in 2009. Lets talk about that a little bit.
Back in 2009 I was a bit of a geek - and when I say a bit of a geek I mean a lot. My wife would agree with that even now. I spent all of my spare time learning how to program, not because it was super cool, but because I wanted to be able to develop my own game someday (something I am still working on by the way). While I was still in high-school I developed my own PHP based Multiplayer RPG called Redwallonline. The plan was to eventually create a 3D online MMORPG game built in Java inspired by my favorite game at the time, an MMORPG called RuneScape. I even spent a couple months tearing apart some private servers of that same game to learn how they did it. Not very clean, but it helped me learn some neat things about draw events and.. well boring stuff no one cares about. So lets move on.
Around this time I was approached by one of my online 'friends' who I played a game with called 'SOCOM: Fire Team Bravo' for PSP (Playstation Portable). He and a few friends were wanting to start a clan website for our members. I had the idea, that rather than just a clan based website, we could make a website for multiple games and that it would be a better use of our time. They agreed with me and our first website was started as Gaming-Geeks.net. At first it didn't seem like the website would be used very much, it was a forum running phpBB software and had a very basic design. I spent every penny I had buying us our own hosting package and transferred the domain to my personal account at NameCheap. From here I was able to transfer our users and database to the new forums software on my new host; this change would allow me to start developing plugins and modifying things as we needed them. This one change made our website start to grow drastically. By the end of 2009 we had over 1000 users and averaged 30 unique users a day. Amazing right? Well not really that impressive but it was a start, and I was still in high-school.
The Geeks Network
As my programming and networking experience expanded (I was taking Computer Science and IT in school) over the next two years, our site would continue to grow slowly. I knew there had to be a better way to get users. We were simply focused at the wrong group of people, while we claimed to be a global gaming network, we had a very strong focus on the SOCOM game. This had to change if we planned to become anything more, but the change would not be accepted by the majority of the team members right away. I began the conversion process by purchasing the domain GeeksNetwork.org and silently re-designing the website and software on my development server. Over the course of two months I built a new portal software system, a store system, and designed a new site, as well as switched our forum software from phpBB to vBulletin.
In mid April of 2013, our new software and forums went live, replacing the old website. The new design was a hit, our Alexa page rank jumped up a couple million places, Google starting ranking us properly, and the users began to flow in. For months we did not see less than 1000 users a day, this would eventually even out to 300 active users a day with over 30,000 registered members. I expanded our platform to include offering web hosting services, a free graphics design course, and a file hosting service. This would continue until early in 2014, before the big shift started.
The big decline
It was early 2014 and the website had never been doing better. We had multiple plugins for various software that we were offering for our users, hundreds of active posts a day, donations from active users, a hosting network, a download website, and graphic design tutorial website, and more. And one day, people stopped coming. Not all at once, but slowly week by week we watched our active user count fall in the hundreds. People had started moving on, going to school, quit playing the major game titles we supported, and growing away from this industry as a whole. The forum based website was to be no more it seemed. Even much bigger websites like IGN and our smaller competitors all began to suffer from this massive shift away from forum based software. We ended up closing all of our other boards to focus our attention on our main website and while the influx of users from the other boards sustained us for a while, we knew it wouldn't last forever and decided as a team to close the website for good in late 2014.
The team that once was GeeksNetwork had now dissolved completely. I was left in control of the domains and servers as I had been the one maintaining them all along anyway. While each other member moved on, I decided that although the brand was now officially closed, it didn't have to be the end of my work. I began to work with a contact of mine, named Tyler who did graphic and web design, on some small projects. We redesigned a couple websites including building job hunting pages, enhanced mobile capable designs, and automating their site editing capabilities to use dynamically created content.
We purchased the Direct Web Solutions brand name in 2016 and officially launched for business in early 2018 after we acquired our first server stack. We licensed our servers with cPanel software and installed CentOS 7 Linux onto all our boxes. This enables us to offer web hosting solutions to all our new and existing customers, at a low cost with great reliability.
This brings us to where we are today. My past experiences, along with the skill set of our new development team means we are more than qualified to serve our customers and you with whatever task you guys require. It's been a long and wonderful journey, and we look forward to having you join us on the rest of our adventure.